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ustralian Aerospace Limited is a wholly owned subsidiary of
Eurocopter - a part of the European Aeronautic Defence & Space
Group (EADS). Created in 2003 through the merger of Eurocopter
International Pacific Limited and Australian Aerospace Pty Ltd,
the company has evolved into a major defence supplier to the
Australian Government. With more than 1000 staff in Australia and New
Zealand and access to the financial strength and expertise of Eurocopter
and the EADS Group, the company is well-positioned to manufacture
and support military and civil helicopters in the Australia-Pacific region.
In addition to its helicopter capabilities, Australian Aerospace has a long
history of fixed wing support to the Australian Defence Force.
Currently it is assembling and delivering 22 ARH Tiger armed
reconnaissance helicopters to the Australian Army and 46 MRH90 multi-
role helicopters to the Army and Navy. It also provides support for the RAAF
AP3C Orion reconnaissance aircraft and, until recently, the now retired
Caribou transport fleet. Last year it commenced a through-life-support role
for C-130J Hercules transports. The company is also involved in supporting
the RAAF’s new Airbus A330-based Multi-Role Tanker-Transport (MRTT)
Australian Aerospace is also a contender to provide a replacement for
Navy’s ageing Seahawk helicopters. Australian Aerospace – one of two
competing bidders – is offering the NFH NATO Frigate Helicopter variant of
the NH90 Family.
As a leading aviation company in the Australia-Pacific region, it has made
a number of commitments to assist Australian SMEs and Tier 2 companies
access the global supply chains of Eurocopter and the broader EADS
Company. Australian Aerospace recognises the important benefits that
access to these supply chains provides local firms in building and sustaining
world class competitive industrial capabilities. Australian Aerospace
also benefits from having local suppliers able to support leading edge
technologies and equipment in-country.
Ferra Engineering (Ferra) is a small privately-owned firm employing
around 100 people based in Tingalpa, South East Queensland. It is one of
Australia’s leading manufacturers of light metal components for the defence,
aerospace, electronics and automotive industry sectors. Ferra produces high
quality machined alloy aircraft flight control components for the Eurocopter
Tiger helicopter and the NHIndustries (NHI) NH90. The Tiger components
are exported to Eurocopter’s Tiger assembly lines in France and Germany
for incorporation into aircraft under construction. The NH90 components
are exported into Eurocopter’s global supply chain where they are used in
NH90s being assembled and operated all over the globe.
Australian Aerospace facilitated the then Australian Defence Industries
(ADI) - now a core element of Thales Australia - to secure contracts for the
manufacture and export of key components to the Eurocopter Tiger and NHI
NH90 production lines. At its Sydney facilities, ADI manufactured and tested
Tiger electrical harnesses, and assembled and tested Helmet Mounted Sight
and Display (HMSD) systems for export to the European Tiger programs.
Further, following on from its success in providing Communication Controller
Modules for the ARH communication system, Australian Aerospace was
able to lobby Eurocopter to award the development contract for a similar
component to ADI for the Spanish Tiger program.
Given ARH’s success, Australian Aerospace facilitated ADI’s inclusion in
the NH90 global supply chain. Thales Australia currently assemble and test
the HMSD and Internal Communications System (ICS) components for
export into Thales’ global supply chain.
Hawker de Havilland (HdH) (renamed as Boeing Aerostructures Australia
in 2009) is located at Fishermans Bend in Melbourne where it has moved
from design, manufacture and assembly of aircraft to being a world class
manufacturer of aircraft components for leading manufacturers, and is
highly regarded for its work in the area of advanced composite carbon fibre
technology. EADS’ Airbus business unit placed a contract with HdH for the
development and production of winglets to be used on the latest generation
A380 airliner. These components were supplied by HdH to the Airbus
production lines in Toulouse, France. The ongoing support sourced from
HdH was strengthened by the success of the ARH Program.
Avalon Systems (acquired by Ultra Electronics in 2009) was a small
independent 100% Australian owned engineering company specialising in
the electronic warfare sector. Through its support of Australian Aerospace on
the ARH program, Avalon Systems received subsequent contracts from EADS’
Defence Electronics business unit to conduct research and development
and engineering support tasks that will aid the future development of EADS
electronic warfare systems. This activity also involved the secondment of
Avalon Systems engineering specialists to EADS’ German facility.
Australian Aerospace engaged the Melbourne-based intellectual property
law firm, White Cleland, to conduct a training and audit program aimed at
increasing the ability of Australian defence SMEs to profitably maintain,
commercialise and protect their intellectual property rights. The SMEs who
participated in the program were able to improve their preparedness to
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