MORE than 350 local jobs will be secured at RAAF Base Amberley in Ipswich under a new $600 million contract to sustain and upgrade the F/A-18F Super Hornet and EA-18G Growler combat aircraft fleets for the Royal Australian Air Force.
The five-year contract extension, awarded to Boeing Defence Australia, will see support for the Super Hornet and Growler programs continue until 2030, ensuring the long-term retention of a highly skilled expert workforce at RAAF Base Amberley.
“Through this contract extension, Defence will continue to work with Australian industry to enhance the nation’s air combat and electronic attack capability,” Group Captain Alexander McCreath, Officer Commanding Air Combat Electronic Attack System Program Office, said.
“Since commencing sustainment for Super Hornet and Growler in the late 2000s, we’ve developed a strong local team of engineers, project managers, maintenance, supply and support services whilst enhancing local capability.”
The team will oversee the engineering, maintenance and project management for the sustainment
and upgrade of the fleets contract extension, taking the overall contract value to $1.2 billion.
The F/A-18F Super Hornet fleet provides multi-role air combat and air strike capabilities for Australia.
The EA-18G Growler fleet provides a force-level electronic warfare capability through disrupting, deceiving or denying a broad range of adversary military electronic systems, including radars and communications.
Operated by No. 6 Squadron at RAAF Base Amberley, the Airborne Electronic Attack capability is comprised of 12 EA-18G Growler aircraft, the ALQ-99 Tactical Jamming System and the AGM-88 series of anti-radiation missiles.
Minister for Defence Industry Pat Conroy announced the deal last week. “In a time of escalating global tensions, maintaining top-tier aircraft and a highly skilled local workforce is paramount. This contract extension fortifies our preparedness for any potential challenges.
“A strong defence industry is also crucial to protecting Australians and their interests, as well as contributing to regional stability,” he said.
Federal member for Blair Shayne Neumann also welcomed the deal. “This announcement is great news for the electorate of Blair, and it shows the federal government is shoring up Australia’s national security and keeping Australians safe, while backing local defence industry jobs.
“It underscores the Albanese government’s commitment to our local defence industry, securing jobs for people at RAAF Base Amberley for years to come, and ensures the Ipswich region’s future as a defence industry hub,” he said.
Neumann made a whistlestop visit to Amberley last week with Assistant Minister for Defence Matt Thisthethwaite with more good news, announcing an additional investment by the federal government investment of $4 million to upgrade important infrastructure facilities which will include the external fuel tank maintenance facility and upgrades to important electrical and communications infrastructure.
“This $4 million investment will be in partnership with local businesses that will create about 100 jobs in the local community,” he said.
“It’s one of 65 projects that is being undertaken by the government and Defence in every state and territory across the country, to make sure that the Australian Defence Force is fit for purpose and ready for duty. This is a $356 million investment and a partnership with Australian industry to deliver better defence capability and better facilities for our Australian Defence Force members across the country,” he said.