The importance of the Tindal RAAF Base to the nation's future military plans was emphasised again today.
The Federal Government today announced it would invest approximately $270 billion over the coming decade in new and upgraded Defence capabilities, including more potent and longer-range combat systems and more secure supply chains.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced a major upgrade at Tindal earlier in the year but it seems clear the spending is not going to finish there.
In February, Mr Morrison visited Tindal to announce a further $1.1 billion would be spent there, on top of the $495 million already invested in New Air Combat Capability infrastructure.
It is believe about $1 billion has already been spent on Tindal in the past five years.
Tindal has been described as the "sharp end of the spear" and the most potent air base south of the big US base at Guam.
Mr Morrison today released plans for the Australian Defence Force to prioritise its geographical focus on the immediate region in an arc ranging from the north-east Indian Ocean through to south-east Asia to the south-west Pacific.
Australia's military will be armed with long-range missiles for the first time as part of the $270 billion build-up.
There will be drones for Tindal, increased co-operation with US military which will have its own fuel and munitions stockpiles at Tindal, and a longer runway to allow its bigger aircraft to use the base, such as the B-52 bombers.
The Federal Government has already purchased six Triton drones in a deal worth $5 billion and Tindal has been named as a forward operating base for the fleet.
There was no detail today about the location of land-based missiles which had been mooted for Tindal in the past.
But Mr Morrison did commit to buying other long-range weapons, with the purchase of up to 200 long-range missiles from the US Navy for $800 million.
These anti-ship missiles are configured for a 370km flight but can fly as far as 1000km.
The missiles will be fitted to the RAAF's fleet of F/A-18F Super Hornets from next year and the F-35A Joint Strike Fighters now entering service.
Tindal's 75 Squadron is expected to begin conversion to the JSF's in January 2022 to achieve final operational capability by the end of 2023.
It is believed about 16 of the new fighter jets will be based here.
The first Triton drones are to be delivered to Australia in 2023.
It has also been revealed four F-35A Full Mission Simulators will be located at Tindal.
Today, the Northern Territory is home to more than 6000 Defence personnel, including ADF permanent and reserve members and Australian Public Service employees.
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