Regional business lobby welcomes Wellcamp Wingman coup 


Business group the Toowoomba and Surat Basin Enterprise called Wednesday morning’s news that Boeing would establish a new factory at Wellcamp Airport a “game changer” that will bring significant opportunities to the city.

Boeing Defence Australia will build a new site at Wellcamp Aerospace and Defence Precinct, it announced on Wednesday, describing the upcoming factory as the “first aircraft assembly site of its kind outside North America.”

The facility will build the autonomous Loyal Wingman plane, the first military aircraft designed and built in Australia in 50 years.

“…This is about more than just the aircraft itself, with the whole of the local supply chain and advanced manufacturing sector to benefit as more companies look to Toowoomba to invest,” said Toowoomba and Surat Basin Enterprise CEO Ali Davenport.

 “I’d like to congratulate the Wagner family, Boeing and the State Government for this incredible milestone and I look forward to seeing the world-class precinct come to life,” said Davenport.

The new factory will be built by Wagner Corporation, with an estimated 300 jobs created in construction and 70 when operational.

The Wingman is an unmanned 11.7-metre aircraft developed by Boeing and the Royal Australian Air Force, involving a consortium of over 35 Australian participants, including BAE Systems, Ferra Engineering and RUAG Australia. The Australian government has ordered six, and the plane is believed to hold export potential. 

According to research commissioned by the TSBE and published in April, the region is home to 380 manufacturers, with an economic contribution of $2.8 billion.

Wellcamp would become an “epicentre of aerospace, and research and development” said TSBE, and that it was committed to fostering the local skills needed to enable new industries.

“Today’s announcement will provide opportunities for our school leavers and create a lasting legacy for decades to come,” added Davenport.

Picture: Mayor Paul Antonio, Ali Davenport (supplied)

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