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US building fuel facility at Australian base as part of force posture initiative

E-7A Wedgtail, F-35 and F-35B elephant walk in Australia
US Marine Corps and Australian F-35 aircraft participate in an Elephant Walk on the RAAF Base Tindal flight line for Exercise Pitch Black 2022. Photo: Australian defense ministry

The United States is funding the construction of a bulk fuel facility at Royal Australian Air Force base Tindal in Australia’s Northern Territory as part of the force posture initiative.

Australian businesses and joint ventures have won four of five United States-funded contracts awarded to the value of US$198.4 million (approximately $296.2 million AUD) since the beginning of the initiatives, the Australian defense ministry said.

The US force posture initiatives are an extension of Australia’s existing alliance with the United States which comprises Marine Rotational Force-Darwin and Enhanced Air Cooperation.

Director General Force Posture Initiatives, Air Commodore Sandy Turner, said the latest contract was awarded to Nova Nacap, a United States/Australian joint venture to build a bulk fuel facility at RAAF base Tindal.

“The $120 million project will provide fuel storage and associated infrastructure at RAAF base Tindal to support enhanced air cooperation under the US force postures initiatives,” Air Commodore Sandy Turner said.

“This US contract also provides opportunities to Australian sub-contractor Saunders International, which has been awarded a $8.5 million sub-contract to Nova Nacap to construct bulk fuel storage tanks.”

The project will be delivered in parallel with a similar project for RAAF Tindal airfield upgrades and associated infrastructure, which is part of the Australian-funded $1.5 billion program of works that commenced in late 2020.

Australia and the US are investing in a range of US force posture initiatives projects with opportunities to support Australian industry across multiple sectors including construction, professional services, maintenance and logistics.

The Australian defense ministry said that in addition to construction contracts, there would be opportunities in sub-contracting, maintenance and supply arrangements that will benefit local suppliers.

Infrastructure to be delivered to support the US initiative is located across the defense estate at Robertson Barracks, RAAF bases Darwin and Tindal, as well as training areas and ranges in the Northern Territory.