As part of the Royal Australian Air Force's preparation for receiving the F-35 in 2019, key RAAF infrastructure requires significant improvement to support the increased operational and maintenance requirements of the fifth generation aircraft.
The New Air Combat Capability (NACC) Facilities Project is a $1.8 billion program investment into RAAF base facilities at:
- RAAF Base Williamtown, NSW;
- Defence Establishment Myambat, NSW;
- RAAF Base Tindal, NT; and
- Forward Operating Bases at Townsville, Qld; Darwin, NT; Curtin, WA; Scherger, Qld; Learmonth, WA; and Pearce, WA.
RAAF Williamtown works:
The proposed works at RAAF Base Williamtown will include an F-35A Operational Precinct, runway pavement upgrades, explosive ordnance preparation facilities, engineering infrastructure and replacement of displaced elements.
F-35A Operational Precinct: The F-35A Operational Precinct is proposed to provide a secure precinct that will be the basis of F-35A operations at RAAF Base Williamtown. The proposed site will include the following facilities:
- 2OCU Complex: 2OCU will provide training to pilot and maintainer trainees in the classroom, simulators and, for pilots, real world flying in F-35As. It will provide pilots and maintainers accepted into the F-35A program with their initial training on the platform;
- Combined 3 & 77 Squadron Headquarters Facility: A Combined Squadron Headquarters facility is proposed, providing efficiencies and facilitating interoperability. Each squadron will have its own headquarters area to exercise effective command and control of F-35A operations and to prepare for exercises and deployments. Maintenance and operations areas will have similar facilities to the flying squadron area of the 2OCU Complex;
- Off-Aircraft Maintenance Facility: Off-aircraft maintenance for all three squadrons at RAAF Base Williamtown is proposed to be conducted at a shared facility. Components or elements that can be removed from the aircraft for maintenance, such as engines, wheels, tyres, canopies and batteries will be maintained in this facility;
- Off-Board Information System Centre: The proposed Off-Board Information System Centre is a secure facility that will facilitate through-life support of the off-board information system. It will be a dedicated computer laboratory for secure functions such as the installation of software updates and preparation of equipment for operations and deployments;
- Parking Apron: The proposed parking apron provides a secure area where aircraft are parked when not flying and minor maintenance tasks can be conducted. An aircraft wash facility with two bays will be shared between the three squadrons. One of the bays is proposed to include an engine wash facility; and
- Deeper Level Maintenance Facility: Deeper level maintenance is proposed to be conducted in a specialised, contractor-run facility that will be delivered after 2020 through adaptive re-use of the existing Hornet Upgrade Hangar.
Additionally, the proposed works for RAAF Williamtown will also include:
- Low Observability Refresh Facility: The proposed facility will facilitate the testing and painting of the surface finish of the aircraft;
- Runway works: The safe operation of the aircraft will require improvements to the runways and associated infrastructure at RAAF Base Williamtown; The proposed works include runway extensions, runway approaches, airfield lighting and navigation aids, taxiways and operational readiness platforms;
- Explosive ordnance facilities: The proposed explosive ordnance facilities to be delivered include high explosive (HE) ordnance preparation facilities, ammunition and counter-measure preparation facilities and ordnance loading apron facilities;
- Engineering infrastructure: Site engineering infrastructure is proposed to be upgraded to support the facilities being delivered as part of the proposed works and to comply with modern statutory requirements;
- Through-life support: Through-life support for the aircraft system will be provided by the Air Combat Systems Program Office and the Lockheed Martin National Operations Centre; and
- Displaced facilities: Existing base facilities will be displaced by the siting of the proposed F-35A Operational Precinct and are proposed to be replaced by the project, including some access roads, liquid dry breathing oxygen storage and a Bureau of Meteorology weather station.
RAAF Tindal works:
The proposed works at RAAF Base Tindal will include an F-35A Operational Precinct, upgrades to the on-base warehouse, minor pavement upgrades, counter measure storage and preparation facilities, engineering infrastructure and replacement of displaced elements.
F-35A Operational Precinct: The proposed F-35A Operational Precinct will provide a secure precinct that will be the basis of F-35A operations for both No. 75 Squadron and visiting Australian squadrons at RAAF Base Tindal. The F-35A Operational Precinct includes the following facilities:
- 75 Squadron Headquarters Facility: The headquarters facility will allow No. 75 Squadron to exercise effective command and control of F-35A operations and to prepare for exercises and deployments. The proposed facility is consistent in layout and functionality to the squadron headquarters being constructed at RAAF Base Williamtown.
- Off-Aircraft Maintenance Facility: Off-aircraft maintenance for No. 75 Squadron will be conducted across a number of buildings utilising both new build and adaptive reuse.
- Detached Training Facility: The proposed detached training facility will provide facilities and training infrastructure to support continuation training for No. 75 Squadron personnel. It includes administration areas, classrooms, full mission simulators and a deployable mission rehearsal trainer.
- Parking apron: The proposed consolidated parking apron will provide a secure area for aircraft to be parked when not flying and where minor maintenance tasks may be conducted.
- Manual aircraft wash and engine wash: A manual aircraft wash and engine wash facility is proposed to be provided adjacent to the existing No. 75 Squadron apron, providing access to both No. 75 Squadron and visiting squadron aircraft.
Additionally, the proposed works for RAAF Tindal will include:
- Base Warehouse: The existing base warehouse is proposed to be fitted out to meet the functional and security requirements for the F-35A logistics system;
- Pavement upgrades: Aircraft hold points on the taxiways, Ordnance Loading Aprons, and the runway thresholds are proposed to be upgraded to rigid pavement to prevent deterioration due to the F-35A’s heat output and tyre pressure;
- Counter measure storage and preparation: New facilities are proposed to be constructed in the vicinity of the existing explosive ordnance storage area for the storage and preparation of counter measures;
- Transit accommodation: Defence anticipates that much of the construction workforce will come from outside the Katherine area. Accordingly, as an efficiency measure and to minimise the impact of the project on the availability of housing in the area, Defence proposes to develop a construction accommodation facility for the workforce. Long-term benefits will be realised by resolving the existing shortfall of transit accommodation on base by refurbishing and retaining the construction accommodation once construction is complete;
- Engineering infrastructure: Site engineering infrastructure is proposed to be upgraded to support the facilities being delivered as part of the proposed works and to comply with modern statutory requirements.
Forward Operating Base works and Defence Establishment Myambat works:
FOB facilities at Townsville, Qld; Darwin, NT; Curtin, WA; Scherger, Qld; Learmonth, WA; and Pearce, WA include proposals for a lightweight facility to be constructed at each of the forward operating bases to store the supporting operation and maintenance modules that will accompany deployed squadrons.
The works will also include a compound and passive security measures.
Capital works at Defence Establishment Myambat include:
- Two new earth covered bunkers are proposed to be constructed adjacent to the existing bunkers at Defence Establishment Myambat. They will augment the existing storage capacity to meet the projected demand for the F-35A ordnance.
- A frangible counter measure storage facility is proposed to be constructed for the wholesale storage of F-35A counter measures.