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$220m Edinburgh RAAF base upgrade for "Peregrine" electronic warfare fleet

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The Federal Government says it will spend $220 million upgrading electronic warfare capability at the RAAF Edinburgh base in Adelaide’s north, with the project manager committing to an 80 per cent South Australian participation rate.

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Defence Minister Linda Reynolds said the upgrades would see Lendlease build a hangar, maintenance facilities, and operational accommodation to support the Intelligence, Surveillance, Reconnaissance and Electronic Warfare MC-55A Peregrine capability.

As announced by then-Defence Minister Christopher Pyne in 2019, $2.46b was being spent on four modified Gulfstream G550 aircraft – collectively dubbed Peregrine – for the RAAF in order to “actively strengthen electronic warfare support to naval, air and land forces for operations in complex electromagnetic environments”.

“The Peregrine is a new airborne electronic warfare capability that will be integrated into Defence’s joint warfighting networks, providing a critical link between platforms, including the F-35A Joint Strike Fighter, E-7A Wedgetail, EA-18G Growler, Navy’s surface combatants and amphibious assault ships and ground assets to support the warfighter,” Pyne then said.

“The aircraft will be based at RAAF Base Edinburgh in South Australia – yet another piece in a broader Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance precinct being developed at the Super Base, which is already home to our Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft.

“RAAF Base Edinburgh will also serve as the headquarters for our unmanned Tritons and armed unmanned Reaper variant.”

Today, Reynolds said Peregrine “will be integrated real-time into Defence’s warfighting networks alongside other Defence capabilities to enhance Australia’s situational awareness during both peacetime and conflict”.

“The Peregrine integrates with other latest generation air, sea and land capabilities to achieve improved survivability and decision superiority.

“Today’s announcement builds on this Government’s $2.5 billion investment in South Australia on Defence facilities and infrastructure over the coming decade, including at Edinburgh Defence Precinct, Woomera Prohibited Area, Keswick Barracks, and the Cultana Training Area.”

Defence Industry Ministry Minister for Defence Industry Melissa Price said work was expected to begin immediately and be completed by 2025

“The project’s construction workforce is expected to peak at about 200 people,” Price said.

“Lendlease has committed to achieving a local participation rate of about 80 per cent, which is an outstanding result for the local defence industry.

“It once again shows how South Australia is benefiting so strongly from the Morrison Government’s commitment to building a robust and resilient defence industry.”

Requests for tenders for local participation are expected to open mid next year.

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