U.S. Marines conducts GMLRS shoot in Australia for first time

The U.S. Marines with 3rd Battalion, 12th Marine Regiment, a part of Marine Rotational Force-Darwin (MRF-D), fired Guided Multiple Launch Rocket System munitions, known as GMLRS, during Southern Reach, at Bradshaw Field Training Area, Northern Territory, Australia on August 15, 2019.

The HIMARS Marines fired two GMLRS in Australia for the first time ever, according to Cpl. Kallahan Morris. The HIMARS is a weapons system made up of the M142, five-ton chassis vehicle and can carry either a launcher pod of six rockets or one MGM-140 Army Tactical Missile System (ATACMS).

The live-fire training conducted was over an area of 3,282 square miles.

HIMARS is participating in MRF-D for the first time. These Marines and equipment provide MRF-D an extended range precision strike capability that can further shape the battlespace.

the HIMARS Marines with MRF-D conducted multiple fire missions, shot two GMLRS rounds, and enjoyed training in the heat of Australia’s Northern Territory dry-season.

US to spend $305 million ramping up military aircraft facilities in Darwin

America has allocated more than quarter of a billion dollars for Osprey aircraft infrastructure in Northern Australia.

The US Defence Department is looking to spend $305.9 million on facilities for their Osprey fleet, Chief Minister Michael Gunner told NT Parliament on Wednesday, while knocking back a suggestion that the money would be spent on a new naval base in Darwin.

"The budget appropriation that is being sought in America is for ramps for the Ospreys in the Northern Territory, not for a naval installation," Mr Gunner said.

"The Ospreys are aircraft vehicles. That is where the money is intended to go."

In July, the ABC revealed that a draft US Congressional bill had $US211.5 million allocated for new "Navy Military Construction" in Darwin, with few other details available.

Mr Gunner said that following these reports, he had reached out to US Secretary of Navy Richard Spencer, to clarify the nature of the spending.

The ABC understands plans for a new commercial port facility were still being discussed.

US plans to spend $300M on Darwin naval facilities

A draft defence bill tabled in the US Senate last month outlines that more than $300 million has been allocated for naval construction in Darwin, the ABC has reported.

The Australian Defence Department reportedly told the ABC that the proposed funding still has to be approved by Congress, but insists that any military projects are negotiated and agreed to by both governments.

Last month Defence and NT Chief Minister Michael Gunner rejected claims a top secret naval port is in the works at Glyde Point, north of Darwin, which could eventually help US Marines operate more readily in the Indo-Pacific.

USA makes $300m push to expand naval facilities in the NT

The United States military is preparing to spend more than a quarter of a billion dollars on naval construction in the Northern Territory, in a move that could raise tensions with China.

the Defence Department says it is still too early to comment on what the US military may have planned in the Northern Territory.

"The referenced document is the Senate version of the National Defense Authorization Act, which authorises (but does not appropriate) Defence initiatives," the Department said in a statement.

"It is still progressing through the US Congress and must be reconciled with the House version before it is finalised. It is not yet approved.

"We expect the US Department of Defense will provide details of the funding in accordance with its processes and timelines following consideration and approval within the United States Government."

The draft US legislation also outlines several other proposed spending projects in the Northern Territory including $US50 million for a "new airport parking apron for the Navy", and $US70.6 million for the Air Force at Tindall.

Australia has 'tarnished' Manus Island and military base isn't welcome, governor says

Charlie Benjamin says Australia has left people of Manus Island with nothing but ‘bad memories’

Benjamin opposes the establishment of a US-Australia military base, another decision he said was made without the consultation or involvement of Manus people.

“That’s a problem I have to deal with, and it disappoints me the Australia and Papua New Guinea did not see this as a big problem,” he said. “We are not given enough help to deal with all of this.

“So when they come and say, ‘We want to build a military base in Manus’, I say ‘I already have experience with you Australians, dealing with asylum seekers, and my people were left out’. I don’t want our people to be left out again with this military exercise.”

He said the base was clearly of benefit to Australia and the US and in response to the growing influence of China in the region. “That has to come at a price,” he said. “You can’t just come in and expect me to welcome you, and face all the social problems, while your people are safe in Australia and America. “If there is a war we are the first ones to face the missiles and you will be safe in your country.”