Top End to benefit from the 201 US Marine Rotational Force

18 Apr 2019 Media release

United States Marine Corps personnel are arriving in the Northern Territory to commence the eighth rotation of the Marine Rotational Force-Darwin (MRF-D).

Over a six-month training period, MRF-D will participate in multiple training activities alongside the Australian Defence Force (ADF), including a new Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Response (HADR) activity.

Minister for Defence, the Hon Christopher Pyne, welcomed the start of the 2019 rotation and said it represented the most capable and operationally focused deployment to date.

“The United States presence in the Indo-Pacific, which is strongly supported by Australia, is an essential element in preserving stability and security in the region” Minister Pyne said.

“The new Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Response exercise will better position both nations to respond to crises in the region”

The main body of the rotation consists of approximately 1,700 Marines and features an Aviation Combat Element including MV-22 Ospreys and UH/AH-1 helicopters, providing the opportunity to deepen interoperability with the ADF.

“The Marine Rotational Force-Darwin provides important opportunities to enhance engagement with regional partners. This year many regional allies and partners will participate in or observe some of these training activities,” Minister Pyne said.

The 2019 rotation will further boost the Top End’s economy, and comes on top of approximately $2 billion to be invested by Australia and the United States into Defence infrastructure and facilities in the Northern Territory in support of the Force Posture Initiatives.

“This work forms an important part of the Morrison Government’s $20 billion defence infrastructure investment in the Northern Territory, as set out in the 2016 Defence White Paper. Under our Local Industry Capability Plans, Territory businesses, contractors and workers are securing much of this work,” Minister Pyne said.

In addition to training with the US Marines, the ADF will also conduct air training exercises with US force elements under the Enhanced Air Cooperation (EAC) Initiative, as part of the US Force Posture Initiatives.

This year’s EAC activities include 5th generation fighter integration, aero-medical evacuation training and integrated aircraft maintenance activities.

“Enhanced Air Cooperation activities complement and support Marine Rotational Force-Darwin training, and provide the opportunity to enhance our capabilities in an increasingly dynamic environment,” Minister Pyne said.

The US Marines are expected to complete the rotation of training in Australia in October 2019.