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Australia announces A$244M upgrade to RAAF base in Western Australia

RAAF Base Curtin
F/A-18A Hornets are prepared at RAAF Base Curtin for a night mission during Exercise Northern Shield 2016. Photo: Royal Australian Air Force

The Australian government is planning to invest A$244 million (approx. US$180M) in a major upgrade of a Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) airbase near Derby in Western Australia.

RAAF Base Curtin forms a key part of the Australia’s network of northern airbases and plays a vital role in supporting the training and operations of the ADF in WA’s North-West and the Indian Ocean.

The airbase will undergo a major refurbishment and replacement of its facilities and infrastructure, including upgrades to communications, water and electrical services, roads, working accommodation, workshops, aircraft hangars, storage areas and security infrastructure.

The project is currently in the development phase and, subject to government and parliamentary approval, construction is expected to start in late 2024 and be finished in mid-2026.

Australian defense industry minister Melissa Price said the government’s planned investment will be a major boost for the local community.

“This is fantastic news for small and medium businesses in and around Derby,” minister Price said.

“One of our core objectives is to maximize employment opportunities for local companies to bid for work on these sorts of projects and this one will be no different.”

WSP Australia has been engaged as defense ministry’s project manager and contract administrator for the development phase of the project.

WSP has started its initial engagement with local community groups and Indigenous groups, including Kimberley shires.

The company has been providing information to enable those interested to prepare to capitalize on the opportunities the project will deliver.

The defense ministry released a request for tender in February 2022 to engage a managing contractor, which will be responsible for managing the project design and overseeing subcontractors for its delivery.

The tender period is set to close on April 8, with a managing contractor expected to be engaged by the defense ministry in June 2022.