The Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) base at Williamtown, near Newcastle in New South Wales, is today regarded as the home of the RAAF's fighter force. Its construction was first planned in 1938 a civil aerodrome in 1938, but with the proviso it would be taken over by the Defence Department in time of war. War had broken out by the time the airfield was completed in January 1941 and the base was officially opened on 15 February 1941. The base expanded rapidly during the war and was home to several training establishments, a succession of operational squadrons, and other support and maintenance units. The nucleues of four a "Article XV" squadrons bound for service with the Royal Air Force overseas were also assembled at Williamtown. After the war, Williamtown became a dedicated fighter base and underwent two extensive redevelopments in the 1960s and late 1980s. The base remains in service today, still sharing the runways with the civilian airport, and is home to the RAAF's 81 (Fighter) Wing.