For the first time, Boeing will contract Australian companies to supply parts for its AH-64E Apache which is being supplied to the Australian Army.
Australian companies Cablex and Thomas Global Systems respectively will manufacture cabling, and design and manufacture cockpit avionics components for the global fleet of Apaches.
For the Australian fleet of Apaches, four companies – Cablex, Ferra, Axiom Precision Manufacturing and Mincham – were selected to supply wire harnesses, electrical panels, vertical spar box, machined parts, fairings and composites.
Kathleen Jolivette, vice president and general manager of Boeing Vertical Lift said: “By partnering with the Australian government and investing in local businesses including small-and-medium enterprises, this agreement will help create jobs, develop Australia’s aerospace and manufacturing capability, and grow the local economy.”
Earlier the Minister for Defence Industry Pat Conroy MP announced new opportunities for Australian defence industry companies to be involved in the production of advanced air capabilities as part of the supply of Apache helicopters from the United States.
The government has today signed an Australian Industry Capability (AIC) Deed for the Apache Program with the Boeing Company (US), solidifying commitments for Australia’s defence industry in the production of Australia’s aircraft, according to Conroy
Defence is preparing to deliver a fleet of 29 AH-64E Apache aircraft between 2025 and 2028, working with industry and the US Army to provide the armed reconnaissance capability to our Australian Army for the first time, under an acquisition worth $4.2 billion.
The deed will underpin Australian industry contribution to the production of the Apache fleet, creating new opportunities, expected to bring millions of dollars to local defence industry companies, said Conroy in a statement.
In what Conroy’s statement said was another significant milestone for Australian defence industry, the number of Australian suppliers involved in building Australia’s uncrewed autonomous jet aircraft, the Ghost Bat, has increased by almost 60 per cent, from the first aircraft build.
The MQ-28 Ghost Bat programme is now backed by more than 55 Australian suppliers contributing to the autonomous capability, including small to medium sized enterprises.
Conroy said: “It’s wonderful to see strong Australian industry involvement in producing the Ghost Bat – the first Australian-designed, developed and manufactured military combat aircraft in half a century.”
Defence is acquiring ten Ghost Bats, for more than $600 million, as previously announced. The autonomous aircraft is the first Australian-designed, developed and manufactured military combat aircraft in half-a-century.
Conroy made the announcements at the Australian International Air Show 2023 at Avalon, Victoria, where both the Apache and the Ghost Bat are on display for the Australian public – the Ghost Bat for the first time.
Editor’s note: This story has been updated to include comments from Boeing.
Picture: defence.gov.au/Apache helicopter