More than 1,000 US arrived in Darwin on Tuesday as part of a rotation of forces to be stationed in northern Australia.
The 1,250 who arrived in the Northern Territory will soon be joined by 13 aircraft – four tilt-rotor Osprey helicopters, five Super Cobra helicopters and four Huey helicopters – in one of the largest deployments of US forces to Australia since World War II.
Commanding of Rotational Force Darwin, Lieutenant Colonel Brian S. Middleton told journalists on Tuesday that “the aviation combat element is our most robust deployment to Darwin”.
“Being close to Southeast Asia and the Indian Ocean, the Indo-Pacific position has always been important.”
Middleton said the would conduct “important exercises alongside with Chinese partners” and Australia. from the three countries are conducting annual joint exercises code-named Kowari since 2014.
Brigadier Ben James, commander of Australia’s 3,000-strong 1st Brigade based in Darwin, said he looked forward to working alongside with his US counterparts.
The rotation is part of a deal struck between former US president Barack Obama and former Australian prime minister Julia Gillard in 2011.
It is the first large-scale arrival of US since the arrangement was signed, with a small number of having been sent to Darwin for training since 2012.
Michael Gunner, the Northern Territory’s chief minister, said the deployment provides an important economic boost to the territory. A report said the would inject $3.7 million into the NT economy annually.
US disembark a plane as they arrive at Darwin, Australia, on Tuesday.Tomwestbrook / Reuters
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