The Shoalhaven City Council’s Southern Joint Regional Planning Panel has approved the construction of a $35 million helicopter maintenance facility at the Albatross Aviation Technology Park adjacent to HMAS Albatross near Nowra.
The facility primarily will be used to support the maintenance of the Navy’s new MH-60R Seahawk Romeo helicopters, the first of which are due to arrive at Nowra in December.
Panel Chairman, Pam Allan told the ABC that the panel came to the decision unanimously, despite one objection from a neighbouring resident. “It wasn’t a straight forward objection,” she said. “I mean this is an area that’s already got industrial facilities in the precinct, so the final proposal is not going to be having an adverse affect on the local community. It’s going to be a great economic and strategic benefit to the Shoalhaven. What we need to do is put in sustainable opportunities and in this case, the aviation industry is an ideal one for the Shoalhaven to be pursuing.”
The approval comes after work commenced in February on two new buildings which will comprise an 8,300 square metre deep maintenance workshop and hangar and a 3,100 square metre spares warehouse as part of MHSCo’s agreement to provide the Romeo fleet with through-life support (TLS) services. MHSCo is a joint venture company of Sikorsky and Lockheed Martin.
The technology park is located on the western side of the base off Braidwood Rd.