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Major hangar upgrade announced for RAAF Base Townsville

written by Robert Dougherty | January 23, 2024

A US F-22 aircraft visits RAAF Base Townsville as part of the first Enhanced Air Cooperation activity in Australia under the US Force Posture Initiatives. (Defence, CPL Glen McCarthy)

The federal government has announced millions in critical infrastructure funding for RAAF Base Townsville in North Queensland.

Approximately $16 million will be invested in RAAF Base Townsville for refurbishments to Hangar 75, which houses critical air capabilities, according to a federal government statement published on 23 January.

The RAAF Base Townsville funding builds on the $700 million that the federal government is investing at the site to support the Australian Army’s new AH-64E Apache helicopters, which will be based there from 2025.

The investment is expected to ensure Townsville’s Defence bases are equipped with modern, fit-for-purpose facilities and infrastructure to support critical capabilities in our nation’s north.

Assistant Minister for Defence Matt Thistlethwaite said the funding, alongside upgrades at Australia’s largest Army base, Lavarack Barracks, will support Australia’s air and land combat capabilities in the region.


“The Defence Strategic Review made clear that in the current strategic circumstances, the Australian Army and Air Force must be optimised to support operations in the north,” he said.

“The Albanese government is committed to ensuring we deliver the necessary upgrades to Australia’s network of northern bases, which is critical to the capacity of our Defence Force to keep Australians safe.

“These projects, to be delivered by local businesses, will create opportunities in the trades and construction industries and deliver more than 600 jobs in North Queensland.”

Improving the ability of the Australian Defence Force to operate from Australia’s northern bases was a key priority identified by the government in response to the Defence Strategic Review.

In February 2023, a $111.2 million contract was announced with Australasian construction company CPB Contractors for upgrades to RAAF Base Townsville, Townsville Field Training Area, and HMAS Cairns.

The Australian government approved the North Queensland Mid-Term Refresh Program contract to deliver new and upgraded engineering services, building refurbishment work, and additional transit living-in accommodation.

First assistant secretary, infrastructure division, security and estate group, Dan Fankhauser, said the program was an investment in the region and supported future Defence estate needs.

“North Queensland is and will remain an important maritime, land, and air hub for Defence into the future,” Fankhauser said.

“The North Queensland Mid-Term Refresh Program ensures the ongoing sustainability of critical infrastructure in support of Australian Defence Force capability across the Townsville and Cairns region.

“Through the commitment to high local participation and apprenticeship targets, this will be a significant investment in the local economy.”

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