A A$1.1bn ($800m) upgrade project has officially started at Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) Base Tindal.

Australian Defence Minister Linda Reynolds turned the first sod at the site in Katherine, marking the commencement of works.

This is a part of the government’s A$8.8bn ($6.4bn) plan to invest in the Defence facilities in the Northern Territory (NT) under the Developing Northern Australia initiatives.

The investment will generate local jobs and ensure the Australian Defence Force (ADF) can deliver an effective air combat capability from NT.

The A$737m ($536.4m) RAAF Tindal Airfield Works and Associated Infrastructure project will see the modernisation of the airfield and boosting aviation fuel storage.

It will also re-invest in base engineering services and offer extra living-in accommodation for posted airforce personnel.

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Reynolds said: “Over the next decade, the planned works will further enhance defence air combat capability and our engagement with allies and other nations through the conduct of joint exercises, including our enhanced air cooperation with the United States Air Force.

“A concurrent A$437m RAAF Base Tindal redevelopment project will also address critical upgrades to base engineering services, including power, water and sewerage to support current and future projected demands on base infrastructure.”

The construction work is slated to be completed in 2027.

In February, the Australian Government announced plans to invest A$1.6bn ($1.05bn) to upgrade the RAAF Base Tindal.