New basing and other facilities required for the RAAF’s planned fleet of 72 Lockheed Martin F-35A Lightning II fighters at RAAF base Williamtown and other locations have been referred to the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Public Works for approval.
A release from Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Defence, Darren Chester says the new works to be conducted under the New Air Combat Capability Facilities Project are required to support the introduction of the F-35A.
“This project will provide new and upgraded facilities and infrastructure at RAAF Bases Williamtown, Tindal, Townsville, Darwin, Curtin, Scherger, Learmonth, Pearce and Edinburgh, and Defence Establishment Myambat (near Singleton, NSW),” Chester said. “The project will provide 3 Squadron, 2 Operational Conversion Unit and 77 Squadron at RAAF Base Williamtown, and 75 Squadron at RAAF Base Tindal with the facilities they need to train, operate and maintain the F-35A aircraft.”
Subject to Parliamentary approval of the project, construction is expected to begin in 2015 and be completed by 2022. Australia’s first F-35As are scheduled to be brought back to Australia for operational evaluation in 2018, and an initial operational capability is scheduled for 2020.