The huge cash splash at the Tindal RAAF Base is set to continue with more than a billion dollars of new upgrades planned.
Already the best part of a billion dollars has been spent over the past decade preparing for the arrival of the squadron of Joint Strike Fighters which are replacing the F/A-18A/B Hornets.
Tindal is to receive 16 of the super stealthy F-35A's at a combined cost of about $2 billion to replace its ageing Hornets.
This latest construction program has been costed at $1.117 billion.
Contractors and suppliers have been invited to attend an information night on the planned new work at the Katherine Civic Centre from 4pm next Thursday, November 28.
A similar briefing is being held in Darwin on November 27.
The meetings are being hosted by the managing contractor LendLease which has long now had a big presence in Katherine.
Although this latest upgrade is yet to be signed off on by the Federal Government, the continuing upgrades or the nation's biggest air base is considered to be a formality.
A lot of the work is to upgrade the ageing facilities at the base.
Tindal was originally a World War Two airfield (Carson's Airfield) and was later upgraded and officially opened in 1988 and is now home to several thousand service men and women, plus their families.
The Tindal runway is to be upgraded for the KC-30A Multi Role Tanker Transport and also to accept bigger US military aircraft as part of increased US-Australia defence partnerships.
"The improved airfield infrastructure delivered by the KC-30A Facilities Project will also serve to support the Enhanced Air Cooperation by improving accessibility of United States Air Force aircraft to the Base," tender documents reveal.
"The solution to the objective will aim to increase Runway 14/32 length, width, shoulders and strength. In addition a realignment and upgrade of Taxiway A, a new air movement terminal, new aircraft apron, new fuel farm and associated other infrastructure services is to be provided to efficiently operate KC-30A in addition to the existing use by 75 Squadron and other transiting aircraft."
There is little detail about a planned expansion of the accommodation at the base and also the workers hostel is to be expanded.
It was built only a few years ago to house 120 workers but there are suggestions the size of the hostel may be doubled as part of this latest program.
Many Katherine businesses have already been feeling the impact from the transition from the JSF project to this latest upgrade.
Lendlease and other contractors have reduced their workforces waiting on approval of this latest stage of work from the Federal Government.
With official signoff imminent, the project is in design development.
Construction is planned to occur over the next six years starting from late next year.
At the Katherine session next week, Lendlease will present an overview of the Project scope and outline the procurement processes.
"The projects purpose is to deliver facilities and infrastructure to maintain the capability of the Base and increase the capacity for the KC-30A Multi Role Transport Tanker operating from RAAF Base Tindal," Lendlease said.
"The full value of the Project EST00346 TDL Redev equates to approximately $416 million. The value of the Project EST00347 KC-30A Facilities equates to approximately $701 million.
"The new facilities and infrastructure to support the EST00346 TDL Redev and EST00347 KC-30A Facilities Projects are to be delivered whilst maintaining full operational continuity for the RAAF operations, as well as civilian aircraft which utilise the airfield."
Also, the Federal Government has purchased seven new MQ-4C Triton drones worth between $2-$3 billion and the Tindal base has been named as a forward operating base for the fleet.
More than 350 people are believed to have been employed on construction work in recent years at Tindal.
Lendlease previously estimated 10-20 per cent of the workforce were Katherine based employees.
Hostels have been built in Katherine and out on the base to house many of the workers.
While you're with us, you can now receive updates straight to your inbox each Friday at 6am from the Katherine Times. To make sure you're up to date with all the news, sign up here.