Boeing will replicate its proven Australian Industry Content (AIC) model established under multiple acquisition programmes if the AH-64E Apache is selected for Australia’s armed reconnaissance helicopter replacement under Land 4503. Over the past decade, Boeing has established a strong network of Australian industry partners on the sustainment and training programmes it delivers for rotary and fixed wing aircraft including F/A-18F Super Hornets, EA-18G Growlers, CH-47F Chinooks, P-8A Poseidons and E-7A Wedgetails.
“We have successfully introduced more platforms acquired through the foreign military sales (FMS) process by the Australian Defence Force than any other industry partner in Australia,” said Scott Carpendale, vice president and managing director, Boeing Defence Australia. “To ensure success for our customer and Australian industry, we have developed and replicated a model that increases AIC over time, which grows jobs and capability right here in Australia”.
Boeing has offered the AH-64E Apache for the Land 4503 programme and is proposing acquisition through an FMS agreement followed by sustainment and engineering services through a combination of FMS and direct commercial sale.
“Our solution provides the ADF with a proven, military-off-the-shelf platform supported by a low risk, mature sustainment solution that can rapidly achieve initial operational milestones and enable the expansion of in-country sustainment capabilities with Australian industry partners,” says Carpendale. “We have maximised in-country services on all of our Australian programs and we will do the same on Land 4503.”
On the Air Combat & Electronic Attack Sustainment Programme, under which Boeing sustains and maintains the Royal Australian Air Force’s fleet of Super Hornets and Growlers, Australian industry is delivering more than 90 per cent of the contract.
Under its Chinook Integrated Services Support (CISS) contract, Boeing is successfully increasing the amount of engineering work and component manufacturing completed in Australia to cut aircraft repair times and significantly reduce maintenance and operating costs.
Small and medium enterprises (SMEs) are critical to the CISS contract, with SME Ferra Engineering manufacturing Station 520 Formers from their factory in Brisbane and Moorabbin-based Marand manufacturing a range of complex components for the aircraft.
With a similar commitment to growing AIC on the Land 4503 programme, Boeing is establishing the Boeing Rotorcraft Network – Australia (BRN-A) to bring together the best of Australian industry across its rotorcraft programs including the CISS and Helicopter Aircrew Training System programmes.
“We created the BRN-A so we can maximise the amount of rotary-wing work that is delivered in Australia,” says Nick Gothard, supply chain management director, Boeing Defence Australia, adding that the BRN-A also supports Boeing’s commitment to identify opportunities for Australian companies in its global supply chains.
Boeing is also inviting expressions of interest through the Industry Capability Network (ICN) across 43 work packages including work on airframe assemblies, avionics systems, component manufacturing, ground support services, the supply of materials, the provision of power systems, and the supply of other support and training solutions.
“More than 130 Australian SMEs have expressed an interest in supporting Boeing Defence Australia’s rotorcraft programmes,” says Gothard, “and through the BRN-A approach we’ve identified some great capability in Australia”.
One of those is Asia Pacific Aerospace (APA), an Australian supplier who is certified to complete maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) tasks on the AH-64E Apache engines and offers scope to increase the capability provided in-country.
“Identifying and engaging Australian industry partners is critical for defence programs,” says Gothard. “We’ve actively sought interest from Australian SMEs, such as APA, to maximise the AIC in our solution for the Land 4503 programme.”