Construction of Northern Territory fuel storage facility begins to service US defense operations

Preparatory work has begun on the construction of the largest fuel storage facility in the Northern Territory (NT). This facility plays an important role in US defense operations in the region.

According to the NT government Media release On Tuesday, the facility will be located in Darwin’s East Arm, holding up to 300 million liters (about 80 million gallons) of fuel.

At a cost of $ 270 million (US $ 194.1 million), the infrastructure will be used to transfer, manage, and store military-grade jet fuel.

In September 2021, the U.S. Government awarded Crowley, a U.S.-based company that provides global energy and logistics services, a bid to provide fuel storage and management to assist the U.S. military.

Then, in December, the Northern Territory Land Development Corporation and Australia-based subsidiary Crowley Australia agreed on the location of the infrastructure and then signed a long-term lease.

Crowley Australia will manage the development and operation of the facility, and Saunders International will design and build the 11 required jet fuel tanks and provide Crowley with engineering, procurement and construction management services.

“Through these joint efforts, Crowley will be able to provide the U.S. military with important fuel storage and management services and increase its presence in Australia and the Northern Territory,” said Shawn Thomas, Deputy Crowley Solutions. The president says.

The Northern Territory Environmental Protection Agency has put a green light on the project. Initial work involves cleaning up the site and establishing access to the vehicle before the start of construction.

Prime Minister Michael Gunner said the investment would mean hundreds of jobs for locals near Darwin CBD and that local businesses would also benefit.

“Because of our strategic position and capabilities, and our motivated attitude, territory is becoming a major hub of defense and national security,” he said.

This comes after the first four of the new fleet F-35A Lightning ll fighter Landed on December 13, 2021 at the RAAF Base Tindall in the Northern Territory.

The fighter will be permanently based on the territory and will replace the dilapidated F / A-18A / B Classic Hornet that has been in operation for 33 years.

The new set of aircraft will allow the Morrison government to continue investing in Tindal bases to strengthen the capabilities of the Australian Defense Force and the country’s air force capabilities in the Indo-Pacific region, including India, Japan, the United States and Vietnam. It is a part. , Taiwan, Indonesia, and New Zealand.

Defense Minister Peter Dutton said he would operate a new multirole fighter from the top end, as the 75th Squadron, which previously operated a Classic Hornet aircraft, is a strategically important location for defense and regional involvement. Said.

“By the time the Air Force plans to declare the F-35A’s final operational capabilities in December 2023, 16 of the fifth-generation multirole fighters will be based in Tindall, a region,” he said. rice field.

“The F-35A-equipped 75 Squadron is a frequent opportunity to enhance interoperability with top-end US rotary aircraft deployments and other enhanced aviation cooperation activities in this year’s announcement. To use. Ausmin. “

AUSMIN stands for “Australia-US Ministerial Talks” and is the main forum for bilateral talks with the United States. These consultations, held regularly in the United States and Australia, provide an opportunity to discuss perspectives and approaches on regional and global issues for deepening bilateral foreign security. And defense cooperation.

Steve Milne