one commander had said that one aim was to improve the forces’ ability to operate from small, rough airfields with limited facilities – also known as austere airfields– a move analysts said was designed to make it harder to “wipe out” US air power with missile attacks on major bases.
PITCH Black, the Royal Australian Air Force’s largest international air engagement exercise, has been shot down by COVID-19.
Australian Defence confirmed on Tuesday that the Territory military exercise will not be conducted this year due to the coronavirus crisis.
Pitch Black hosts up to 3500 personnel and up to 120 aircraft from around the globe including participants from Australia, Canada, France (New Caledonia), Germany, Indonesia, New Zealand, Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia, Republic of Korea and the United States.
Japan was to be participating for the first time in 2020.
The cancellation of Pitch Black follows on the back of the announcement that Australia’s largest army exercise for this year, Exercise Hamel, has been cancelled.
More than $1b additional investment in making us reliant on the USA: major runway extensions, fuel stockpiles and engineering will be designed to support “Code E” large aircraft, such as US Air Force B-52 strategic bombers and RAAF KC-30 air-to-air refuellers.
Mr Morrison told The Australian the $1.1bn spending comes on top of almost $500m that had already been planned for Tindal.
Under the US Force Posture Initiative signed in 2011 by the Gillard government and Obama administration, the US and Australia committed to joint funding for military infrastructure projects of about $2bn.
This included an increase in the annual rotation of US marines through Darwin to about 2000. The Tindal program will be funded under Australia’s contribution, after the US announced it would spend $305m in upgrading infrastructure in Darwin
“These are (the) sorts of things you can do when you manage money well and invest in priorities of keeping Australia safe and building the capability of our defence forces.” #FFS
The ABC understands plans for a new commercial port facility were still being discussed.
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.