Prime Minister Scott Morrison is jetting into Katherine this morning to announce a $1.6 billion investment at RAAF Base Tindal.
It is believed to be the first time a prime minister has visited the town in more than 20 years, although he won't be straying far from the base, just over 15 kilometres from the centre of town.
Already, Tindal has seen the best part of a billion dollars spent over the past decade in preparation for the arrival of the Joint Strike Fighters, expected to land as soon as 2022.
Hundreds of workers have been employed over the past couple years to get the base ready for the arrival of the fleet of 16 super stealthy F-35A's worth about $2 billion, replacing the ageing squadron of F/A-18A/B Hornets.
Mr Morrison will be announcing his government's approval of a further $1.1 billion, on top of the $495 million already invested in New Air Combat Capability infrastructure.
The PM's spokeswoman said the upgrades will be integral to Australia's alliance with the United States, and increase the reach of Air Force capabilities in the Indo-Pacific.
"This investment, which will create over 300 jobs in the construction phase, is part of the $8 billion we are spending over the coming decade on Defence facilities in the Top End, as part of the Defence White Paper and under our Developing Northern Australia initiatives," she said.
"As part of these upgrades, RAAF Base Tindal will be able to deliver enhanced air-to-air refuelling and air support capabilities, ensuring we can support critical ADF operations - everything from air combat missions through to responding to natural disasters both at home and throughout our region.
"Under the redevelopment projects, $737 million will go towards upgrading the airfield including extending the runway, building a new air movements terminal, parking apron and extra fuel storage facilities.
"An additional $437 million will provide critical base infrastructure upgrades, particularly engineering services on the base including power, water and sewage, as well as 108 new live-in units for Australian Defence Force personnel."
Mr Morrison's spokeswoman said Katherine's RAAF Base is one of Australia's most important defence bases.
"The 2016 Defence White Paper identified Northern Australia as strategically important, both for national defence and as a forward base for regional engagement," she said.
"Defence's managing contractor will be required to maximise the involvement of local industry from the Katherine region and wider Northern Territory.
"Hundreds of locals will be employed to deliver these projects, with many more set to benefit from subcontract packages and supply chain work."
Construction is expected to commence from the middle of this year, and run until 2027.
The Prime Minister and Minister for Defence Industry will also open the recently completed $495 million New Air Combat Capability facility.
The completion of this facility will support the arrival of Australia's cutting-edge F-35A Joint Strike Fighter aircraft at RAAF Base Tindal in the years ahead.
According to the government, the project has seen $242 million injected into the Territory's economy, with 64 per cent of the total work packages awarded to Northern Territory businesses.
"These completed works also contributed to local Indigenous employment, with an eight-percent Indigenous workforce participation rate and three sub-contracts, valued at $27 million, awarded to Indigenous companies," the spokeswoman said.
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.
Public information sessions on the upgrades are scheduled for February 27, 2020 in Katherine and the following week in Darwin.
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