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Construction on track for new 'Tiger' facilities in Darwin.



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Media contacts Mark Williams (Senator Hill) 08 8237 7920 0401 147 558

Defence Media Liaison 02 6265 3343 0408 498 664

www.defence.gov.au

MEDIA RELEASE SENATOR THE HON ROBERT HILL Minister for Defence Leader of the Government in the Senate

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Friday, 12 August 2005 127/2005

CONSTRUCTION ON TRACK FOR NEW ‘TIGER’ FACILITIES IN DARWIN

Construction is ahead of schedule to build new facilities to house a fleet of 17 ‘Tiger’ armed reconnaissance helicopters with the 1st Aviation Regiment in Darwin.

Defence Minister Robert Hill, who today inspected the development at Robertson Barracks, said the $82 million project involves the construction of new facilities including maintenance, flightline, command, training and accommodation buildings, as well as a helicopter apron and taxi-way.

Senator Hill said the majority of construction will be completed by the end of the year to enable elements of the 1st Aviation Regiment to relocate to the new facilities in early 2006, prior to the arrival of the Tiger helicopter fleet.

“This is a major infrastructure project for the Darwin region with significant long-term benefits for the local community,” Senator Hill said.

“I am pleased that most of the construction contracts have been let to local firms creating valuable employment and business opportunities in the Darwin area.

“The project was deliberately split into a number of individual contract packages to provide maximum contracting opportunities for the local industry.”

The Army will receive 22 Tiger ARH aircraft, flight and maintenance simulators and through-life support as part of the $1.3 billion project. The first four aircraft were manufactured in France, with the first two delivered in December 2004. The remaining 18 are being built in Brisbane and will be in operation by 2009.

“The new Tiger is the most advanced helicopter of its type in the world and will add significant firepower, protection and mobility to the Australian Army providing a capability that Defence has never had before,” Senator Hill said.

“Its sensors, data links and state of the art communications provide Army with a significant increase in technology and capability.

“The Tiger’s flexibility, ability to deploy at short notice and to operate in diverse circumstances represents a major boost in the Army's operational versatility.”

“The Army will now be able to conduct tactical reconnaissance and provide armed escort for troop lift helicopters on air mobile operations.”

The heavily armed Tiger is fitted with Hellfire missiles, 70 mm rockets and a 30 mm cannon and will significantly enhance the reconnaissance and firepower capabilities of Army’s combined arms team, which will soon include the MRH 90 Troop Lift Helicopters and the M1A1 Abrams tank.