Boeing Defence identifies new SME suppliers for JP9102 project


Boeing has announced that it has grown its team of suppliers hoping to deliver the JP9102 defence satellite communications project.

Without naming any companies, the aerospace and defence giant said in a statement on Wednesday that it was actively evaluating “several Brisbane-based companies which Boeing has recently pre-qualified” to support satellite production in El Segundo, California.

“We are at varying stages of engagement with these suppliers,” said Kathryn Burr, Boeing Defence Australia’s JP9102 program manager, of the growing team.

Boeing has named a collection of Australian companiesincluding Quickstep Holdings, Crystalaid, Ferra, Nupress, Cablex, Lovitt, and Levett – as having signed memorandums of agreement to be part of the bid. The project lead began an $5 million, 18-month development program for the team in February. 

“Quickstep has recently visited the U.S. to get a deep understanding of capital, tooling and materials to perform test work for space parts along with intellectual property transfer requirements, and Cablex is moving forward with a sample harness build,” explained Burr.

“We’re also in the process of placing orders for ground support equipment and anticipate releasing purchase orders over the next couple of months.

“For businesses in the initial stages of engagement, we are working with them in-depth to detail Boeing’s specific requirements and assisting with training and certification requirements.”

Tender submissions for JP9102 closed on January 10, with other bids including those led by Airbus, Lockheed Martin Australia and the Optus/Raytheon Australia/Thales Australia Team AUSSAT.

Burr added that space manufacturing is a relatively new industry in Australia, so most of the manufacturers consulted were eager about the possibility. 

“We are continually working to identify Australian suppliers who have the capability to develop a range of space products from complex bus, payload and solar array composite structural assemblies to circuit card assemblies, harnesses, and various mechanism and machine part assemblies,” said Burr.

Picture: supplied

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