Air traffic control tower a major upgrade

Air traffic control tower a major upgrade

State-of-the-art equipment will be installed in a new air traffic control tower under construction at RAAF Base Darwin.

The joint Defence/Airservices Australia ‘OneSKY’ project will enable the seamless and continued delivery of air traffic services for the region by Air Force’s air traffic controllers and communications electronics technicians. 

Contractors Lendlease started construction in July 2019 at the site of the joint military and civilian airfield, leased by Darwin International Airport.

The main support structure has increased in height by about six metres a week since April.

A major milestone is planned later this month with the installation of the top of the tower using a 500-tonne hydraulic crane. 

Commanding Officer of No. 452 Squadron Wing Commander Andy Hoare said the personnel who support military and civilian air movements at Darwin Airport would transfer to the new facility when completed.

“The new infrastructure will provide a more flexible and conducive work environment for our highly professional and highly skilled personnel who maintain air traffic control services for the Defence Force and civilian passengers travelling through the airport,” Wing Commander Hoare said. 

“Tower facilities will also support a future upgrade of the air traffic control system.”

Senior Officer of RAAF Base Darwin Wing Commander Andrew Anthony said the facility was a welcome upgrade. 

“With elevator and stairwell access to the control cabin level, the new facilities will house an external observation deck, crew rest area, kitchenette and a mechanical plant room,” Wing Commander Anthony said.  “Once services are being provided from the new tower, the old tower will be demolished in order to provide an unobstructed view from the new location.

“The new tower and the accompanying facilities are essential for us to continue to safely manage ground and airspace operations.” 

A safety exclusion zone will be in place during the final cabin-lift phase resulting in minor traffic management changes within the precinct.

The new tower is part of a wider Defence infrastructure program – AIR5431 Phases 2 and 3 – which will deliver new or upgraded air traffic control facilities at 12 Defence bases across Australia.

Construction is complete at most locations. The final construction phase at Darwin should to be completed by late 2021.

The tower is expected to be operational by late 2023.

More information is available at

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