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RAAF Base Tindal

RAAF Base Tindal

Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) Base Tindal is 15 kilometres outside Katherine and 320 kilometres by road south-east of Darwin in the Northern Territory.

RAAF Base Tindal is part of a chain of airfields stretching across northern Australia from Learmonth in Western Australia to Townsville in northern Queensland.

Although the airfield was constructed in 1942, it is the Air Force's youngest operational base (excepting bare bases) and one of Australia's most important Defence installations.

RAAF Base Tindal is very much part of the Katherine community with Australian Defence Force personnel and their families making up almost 20% of Katherine's population.

RAAF Base Tindal is home to:

  • Number 75 Squadron - F/A-18A/B Hornet
  • Number 17 Squadron - Airbase Operations/Support
  • Number 452 Squadron Tindal Flight - Air Traffic Control
  • Number 2 Squadron Detachment Tindal
  • Number 28 Squadron Detachment Tindal

The Australian Army's North-West Mobile Force (NORFORCE) also has a detachment on the base.

The front gates of RAAF Base Tindal

The front gates of RAAF Base Tindal

The Katherine Town Council established a working agreement with the Department of Defence in the early 1990s for joint use of the airstrip and associated facilities at RAAF Base Tindal for the Katherine Tindal Civilian Airport.

The Delamere Air Weapons Range is also managed by RAAF Base Tindal (17 SQN) and is located some 150 kilometres to the south-west. The Range is used to exercise deployed Australian and selected overseas air forces.

As well as being home base to Number 75 Squadron, RAAF Base Tindal serves as a staging base for exercises conducted in the Northern Territory. There are a number of major exercises held in the Northern Territory.

Air Force’s largest and most complex air exercise, Exercise Pitch Black, is traditionally held in the Northern Territory every two years. Exercise Pitch Black is conducted from RAAF Bases Darwin, Tindal and Amberley and generally features participants from Australia, the United States, New Zealand, Singapore, Thailand, United Arab Emirates and French Air Force (New Caledonia) who co-operate for Offensive Counter Air (OCA) and Defensive Counter Air (DCA) missions.

A quartet of F/A-18A/B Hornets taxi out for an Exercise Pitch Black mission at RAAF Base Tindal.

A quartet of F/A-18A/B Hornets taxi out for an Exercise Pitch Black mission at RAAF Base Tindal.

Exercise Southern Frontier is held annually in the Northern Territory using the Delamere Bombing Range, south of Katherine. Based at RAAF Base Darwin and Tindal for two months, approximately 300 United States Marines take part in the exercise.

United States Marine medium helicopter Squadron 265 (HMM-265) MV-22 Osprey tiltrotar aircraft takes off from RAAF Base Tindal during Exercise Southern Frontier.

United States Marine medium helicopter Squadron 265 (HMM-265) MV-22 Osprey tiltrotar aircraft takes off from RAAF Base Tindal during Exercise Southern Frontier.