As part of U.S. Pacific Command and U.S. Air Force rotational presence in the Pacific, a B-52 Stratofortress stationed at Anderson Air Force Base, Guam, landed at Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) Base Darwin on Monday Dec. 8, 2014. This was only the most recent rotation of a B-52 to Darwin. B-52s participated in bilateral exercises out of Darwin earlier in 2014 and also in 2012, part of a growing U.S. presence in the region. The rotations are part of the United States pivot to the Pacific, projecting power and promoting security cooperation efforts across the region. Such deployments enhance the U.S. ability to train, exercise and operate with Australia and other allies and partners across the region, further enabling the U.S. to work together with these nations to respond more quickly to a wide range of challenges, including humanitarian crises and disaster relief.
The Royal Australian Air Force’s Base Darwin is one of the nation’s main forward operating bases. The base is located on the northern coast of Australia’s Northern Territory, slightly northeast of the territory’s capital city of Darwin, and was a key location during World War II, when it was attacked many times by the Japanese, reflecting its strategic importance. The base’s runway is shared with Darwin International Airport, and it is home to a number of units, including:
- No. 92 Wing Detachment Darwin – surveillance and response
- No. 452 Squadron Headquarters
- No. 452 Squadron Darwin Flight – air traffic control
- No. 13 (City of Darwin) Squadron – Airbase Operation
- No. 1 Airfield Operations Support Squadron Detachment Darwin – air movements
- Darwin Area Health Centre
- No. 2 Expeditionary Health Squadron Detachment Darwin
- No. 114 Mobile Control and Reporting Unit – radar operations
- No. 2 Security Force Squadron Detachment Darwin
While Darwin is a forward deployed base, it is being eyed for possible expansion in the future. A full U.S. Marine Corps Marine Air Ground Task Force (MAGTF) of some 2500 Marines and their equipment will be on permanent rotation at Darwin by 2016.