Billion dollar plan gets RAAF base flying high
MORE than $1.1 billion will be injected into RAAF Base Amberley over the next four years in the biggest expansion the site has ever seen.
Wing Commander Scott Winchester said work had now begun on the first of many key projects at the base.
"There's about 10 projects all up but there are a few key ones. The first is an additional army unit to Amberley. The 17 Construction Squadron will relocate from Sydney at the end of this year so that will increase the army presence on the base," he said.
"There is also a couple of key Air Force projects.
"We're getting 12 Growler electronic attack aircraft. They look like a Super Hornet but it's a very high-end US-developed aircraft. That will grow our fast jet fleet from the current 24 Super Hornets to 36. We will also operate the 10 C-27J aircraft, a tactical air lift aircraft which is new to the Air Force inventory. They are basically a mini two engine Hercules. The C-27J squadron, made up of about 260 additional people, will move from Sydney to Amberley."
Wg Cdr Winchester said the number of C-17s at the base had doubled from four to eight and, along with two additional KC-30s to accommodate for, a new hangar and tarmac would be one of the key projects to be completed before 2020.
"That project was approved by the last Parliament before the last election so that work will start early next year," he said.
"There's also some other works increasing base services such as sewerage, power and water, some additional fencing and road works as well."
The billion dollar upgrades could also benefit Ipswich residents.
Wg Cdr Winchester said the base would be working with local, state and federal government to fast-track the Cunningham Hwy upgrade due to the increased Defence traffic using the road.
"Currently we have 5800 people on the base, that number will increase to about 7000 as the base continues to grow," he said.
"The expansion will boost the local economy. We will endeavour to get a lot of local tradies and I would encourage local businesses to look at the AusTender website to get involved with projects on the base."