Boeing selects Wellcamp Airport for ‘first site of its kind outside North America’

Boeing has announced it will construct a new facility at Wellcamp Airport in Toowoomba, where it will build the first military aircraft to be designed and manufactured in Australia in half a century.

Boeing announced that it would build its Loyal Wingman aircraft in Queensland last October, and the exact location of Wellcamp Aerospace and Defence Precinct on Wednesday.

It will be the “first aircraft assembly site of its kind outside North America,” said the US-based company in its announcement.

“The Wellcamp Aerospace and Defence Precinct location is attractive due to its access to a flight line, clear flying days, commercial flight access from major cities and ability to support the rapid pace at which the Airpower Teaming System program is growing,” said Boeing Defence Australia’s Managing Director Scott Carpendale.

Carpendale added that the facility would be built with Wagner Corporation from the ground up, “including renewable technologies and human-centric design.”

Wagner estimated 300 jobs will be created during construction.

“This has the potential to greatly improve our state’s advanced manufacturing capability and help shape a workforce of Queenslanders with the skills to build some of the world’s most cutting-edge aircraft,” said Queensland premier Annastacia Palaszczuk of the announcement.

The federal government has committed to buying six Loyal Wingmans, also known as the Boeing Airpower Teaming System (ATS).

The plane is an 11.7-metre aircraft developed by Boeing and the Royal Australian Air Force consortium of over 35 Australian participants, including BAE Systems, Ferra Engineering and RUAG Australia. It is the first military aircraft designed and built in Australia in half a century.

The first flight by a prototype (pictured) was in February, from Woomera Range Complex in South Australia.

Earlier this year it was reported that Boeing will base a new plane proposed for the US Air Force based on the WIngman’s design.

It is designed to fly in a team with manned jets such as the F-35 joint strike fighter, providing dispersed sensor and operational capabilities.

The Wellcamp announcement followed Australia’s first commercial drone flight testing facility at Cloncurry Airport last December, with Boeing the first user, said Tim Dick, the state’s treasurer. 

“It’s expected the project could generate up to $1 billion dollars for Queensland’s economy over 10 years, with more than just defence industries to benefit.”

Picture: supplied

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