American military becomes lead agency in Tiwi Islands Osprey crash investigation

The American military has taken over an investigation into the death of three Marines during a training exercise on a remote island off the Northern Territory.

NT Police were leading the response after a horror military aircraft crash on the Tiwi Islands on Sunday August 27.

There were 23 troops on board the tilt-rotor military aircraft when it went down, with the two pilots and crew chief understood to have sacrificed their lives to avert a catastrophic crash killing all on-board.

Under the Commonwealth Defence Visiting Forces Act, the Territory coroner was barred from holding an inquest into the three marines’ deaths with the initial reports passed onto the American authorities.

Hundreds of turtles are dying on a tiny coral atoll that's key to Australia's defence ambitions

About 100 metres from the end of a runway earmarked to take spy planes for the Australian Defence Force and its allies, hundreds of vulnerable turtles are starving and dying.

The Australian government has reneged on its 1984 commitment to the UN “that it had no intention of making the Cocos (Keeling) Islands into a strategic military base or of using the Territory for that purpose” - part of the agreement to the Act of Self Determination for Cocos to be integrated into Australia.

US military aircraft crash over the Tiwi Islands, Northern Territory

Three American marines have been killed in a horror crash during a military exercise off the coast of the Northern Territory.

The Marine Rotational Force Darwin confirmed three of their personnel had died, while another five were flown to Royal Darwin Hospital in serious condition following an Osprey crash over the Tiwi Islands at 9.43am, Sunday.

He said the aircraft, with 23 personnel on board went down while transporting troops during a routine training exercise, known as Predators Run, near Pickataramoor, Melville Island, 80km north of Darwin.

“Recovery efforts are ongoing,” a MRF spokesman said.

The cause of the incident is under investigation.

US Air Force mission planning operations centre for Darwin

A new US Air Force will build a "mission planning" and operations centre in Darwin, as part of $630 million in American spending across the top end over the next two to three years.

The "Squadron Operations Facility" in Darwin will add to its growing array of military assets in the north, raising fears Australia may be locked into any future military conflict between China and the USA.

The tender documents say the Squadron Operations facility in Darwin will be used for maintenance, mission planning, intelligence and crew briefings — it is budgeted to cost $US26 million ($40 million).

“Being able to organise and deploy forces outside of the dense missile attacks that China is likely to use against places like Guam and Okinawa is part of the strategic logic,”

Ospreys from Hawaii join Marine Corps rotational force in Darwin, Australia

Ten Marine Corps MV-22B Ospreys have arrived in Australia’s Northern Territory as part of a 2,500-strong rotational force, the Marine Corps said Tuesday.

The Ospreys, from Marine Corps Base Hawaii’s Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 363, are deployed to Royal Australian Air Force Base Darwin, according to a Marine Corps statement and information released Friday by the U.S. Department of Defense with photographs of the aircraft.

The tiltrotors, air crew and support personnel make up the air combat element of Marine Rotational Force — Darwin, which began its annual seven-month rotation last month.

The 12th contingent of the rotational force since 2012 will practice expeditionary operations, geographically distributed communications, non-combatant evacuation, embassy reinforcement, humanitarian assistance/disaster relief and rapid projection of combat power