UXO Remediation, R8000 New Air Combat Capability Facilities Project, RAAF Williamtown

The New Air Combat Capability (NACC) Facilities Project is a $1.6 billion investment into RAAF base facilities in preparation for the Joint Strike Fighters introduction in 2019.  Prior to any facilities and infrastructure works taking place the work sites had to be remediated to remove the threat of unexploded ordnance (UXO) which if found during the works could potentially cause project delays with unacceptable cost and time implications.

RAAF Williamtown is an operational base and OPEC managed multiple work areas simultaneously to ensure that the relevant stakeholders were not inconvenienced by its work processes.  This involved working on the airfield at night and on sites near roads and occupied buildings at weekends. Constant stakeholder communication was used to successfully facilitate the works.

Using specialised vegetation reduction equipment over 44 hectares of vegetation ranging from bush to large mature trees were removed.  All root structures were also removed with non-destructive digging techniques used around services and power cables without any damage.

The project involved over 120 hectares of digital survey utilising the innovative Ultra TEM technology.  This high spatial resolution three-component Electromagnetic Induction (EMI) detection technology enabled OPEC to narrow down the potential UXO anomalies to a specific target size. This reduced remediation time and cost dramatically, often by over 40% compared to outdated technologies based on magnetometers or EM61 metal detectors.

OPEC has investigated over 10,000 anomalies and removed over 1300 items of explosive ordnance (EO) from the site, including a complete buried WWI artillery gun.

The client’s expectations were met and infrastructure and facilities works were able to commence on time as programmed.