The Government of Australia has awarded a contract to Refuel International to build new aviation fuel tankers for the Australian Defence Force (ADF).

More than $400m will be spent on the fuel tankers project, with plans to invest an additional $360m over the 15-year life of the vehicles on sustainment, maintenance and repair.

The A$47m ($36.02m) contract helps ADF in replacing its current ageing fleet of refuelling vehicles with the new fleet.

"The contract is expected to create more than 60 direct jobs in the region."

The new aviation fuel tankers will be used to refuel and defuel ADF's current and future fleets of fixed-wing aircraft and helicopters across its Australian bases and at the Royal Australian Air Force Detachment located at the Royal Malaysian Air Force Base Butterworth.

Work under the contract will be carried out at the company's facility in Sunshine West, Melbourne.

The contract is expected to create more than 60 direct jobs in the region.

Australia Minister for Defence Industry Christopher Pyne said: “Following on from the 60 jobs at Sunshine West, will be dozens more across the state and the country as they draw on their supply chain to complete the contract, as well as in the maintenance and sustainment of the vehicles.

“This is another example of the Turnbull Government getting on with the job, engaging Australian businesses and providing vital pieces of enabling equipment to the Australian Defence Forces, while at the same time supporting Australian jobs.”

Contracts for the sustainment, maintenance and repair of the vehicles are yet to be signed.