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US Air Force to Further Expand Footprint in Australia

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The United States has budgeted $26 million for the construction of a U.S. Air Force mission planning and operation center in Darwin, ABC News reported, citing U.S. budget filings. The facility is expected to expand American military assets in northern Australia, a growing presence seen as a proactive move against China’s military buildup.

According to the report, the Darwin USAF Squadron Operations Facility’s construction budget is part of a $400 million U.S. plan to grow American military assets in Australia. According to Michael Shoebridge, director of the think tank Strategic Analysis Australia, the scale and speed of military spending demonstrate that Washington understands the need for urgency and deter potential conflict through collective military power.

The development follows news last year that the United States is seeking to build dedicated support facilities at the Tindal air base south of Darwin for up to six B-52 bombers. At RAAF Darwin Base, a U.S. aircraft parking and refueling apron will also be built at an expected cost of $258 million.

A separate U.S. outlay of around $176 million has already been allocated for the construction of 11 jet fuel storage tanks near Darwin’s main port. The new infrastructures and planned facilities will support bilateral military exercises in the region.

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