Townsville to be home of Apache helicopters

3 July 2023

The Government is investing nearly $700 million upgrading RAAF Base Townsville to support the new AH-64E Apache helicopters, which will be based there from 2025.

It is one of the steps being taken to improve the Australian Defence Force’s ability to operate from Australia’s northern bases, one of the six priority areas identified by the Government in response to the Defence Strategic Review.

Army’s 1st Aviation Regiment will relocate to Townsville incrementally as it continues to operate the ARH Tiger from Darwin until its planned withdrawal from service in 2028.

In Townsville, Boeing Australia will provide maintenance support to the Apache and Chinook helicopters. In Sydney, Nowra and south-east Queensland, Lockheed Martin Australia and Sikorsky Australia will provide maintenance support to the UH-60M Black Hawk and MH-60R Sea Hawk helicopters.

Defence Minister Richard Marles said the geographic consolidation of industrial support to ADF helicopters would generate greater operational reliability and reduce sustainment and flying costs.

“The Apache is the most advanced attack helicopter operating today. Its introduction into service represents a capability leap for Army,” Mr Marles said.

“In the past year we have taken a number of difficult and important decisions to improve the Army’s aviation capability.

“Our significant investment in renovated and new facilities at RAAF Townsville will ensure the ADF members and civilians working with Apache have the infrastructure they need to support these important capabilities.” 

Minister for Defence Industry Pat Conroy said the relocation of the 1st Aviation Regiment to Townsville would help Defence sustain the new helicopters more efficiently and effectively, and would mean more high-skilled, secure jobs in Townsville.

“The hubs created as a result of consolidating and re-locating our helicopter capabilities will also generate other opportunities for international partners to operate and be supported in Australia,” Mr Conroy said.

“Defence-related investment in Darwin will grow over the coming years as new capabilities are moved to the north. This will include investment in major capital facilities and a net workforce growth in the Top End.”


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