The Commonwealth government has announced it will spend $220 million on new facilities at RAAF Base Edinburgh to accommodate the Gulfstream/L3Harris MC-55A Peregrine electronic support aircraft capability.
Based on the Gulfstream G550 business jet airframe, the first four RAAF MC-55As are currently in build at Gulfstream’s Savannah, Georgia plant, or are being modified by L3Harris in Greenville, Texas.
Being procured under Project AIR555, the Peregrine is due to enter service from 2024. It will augment RAAF MQ-4C Triton, P-8A Poseidon, E-7A Wedgetail, MQ-9B SkyGuardian, and EA-18G Growler aircraft, and other capabilities such as JORN and the Navy’s Hobart class Aegis destroyers in providing near real-time intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) data to the ADF.
“The 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,” Defence Minister Senator Linda Reynolds said in a joint release with Defence Industry Minister, Melissa Price.
“The Peregrine integrates with other latest generation air, sea, and land capabilities to achieve improved survivability and decision superiority.
The release said LendLease had been selected to perform the work. “The project’s construction workforce is expected to peak at about 200 people,” Minister 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.”
The new facilities will comprise a hangar, headquarters for the operating 10SQN, a simulator building, and other infrastructure, and will add to similar new facilities added in recent years for the P-8A and MQ-4C. Construction will commence in 2021, and be completed by 2025.