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The Boeing Company

Boeing is the major supplier of commercial and military aircraft to Australia. It is an integral part of the Australian industry and research communities. Boeing’s in-country businesses have full access to the technology and know-how of The Boeing Company and are an essential part of the world’s largest aerospace and defence systems integration company. Boeing’s presence in Australia is the company’s largest footprint outside the United States.

The company’s seven wholly owned subsidiaries are overseen by Boeing Australia Holdings Pty Ltd, which was established to consolidate and co-ordinate Boeing’s businesses in Australia. As of 2012 Boeing employed about 3,500 people at its facilities and offices throughout Australia. In the previous 10 years alone, it has invested more than $A350 million in local facilities, plant, equipment and the training of Australians, more than $A200 million in local research and development, and a further $A100 million in technology transferred to Australia. Boeing has exported from Australia $A2.5 billion worth of complex aerostructure components and donated more than $A2 million to support local technical education, universities, and charities.

Boeing Defence Australia, a wholly owned subsidiary of The Boeing Company and a business unit of Boeing Defense, Space & Security, has a team of highly skilled people located across the country delivering some of the largest and most complex programs for the Commonwealth of Australia, the Australian Defence Force and international defence and commercial customers.

Boeing Defence Australia is organised into three divisions:

  • Integrated Logistics: Comprising platform maintenance and upgrades, component maintenance solutions, technical support and training systems & services for Australian government, defence and commercial customers.
  • Information & Operational Services: Providing complex command, control and communications systems and mission critical infrastructure support, specialist engineering services and information and cybersecurity solutions.
  • Tactical Derivative Aircraft: Supporting commercial to military conversion projects for countries acquiring Boeing Airborne Antisubmarine Warfare and Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance products.
Boeing Aerostructures Australia is Australia’s only manufacturer of high-end aero-structure components and has been in existence since 1927. When The Boeing Company acquired the former Hawker de Havilland in 2000, it had already been working with the iconic Australian aeronautical firm for a number of years. Boeing has been working with Australians for more than 80 years, commencing with the establishment of Hawker de Havilland (now Boeing Aerostructures Australia) in 1927. Since then, Boeing has played an integral role in the region’s aerospace industry through its products and services.

Boeing Aerostructures Australia’s head office is located at Fishermans Bend in Melbourne where it has moved from design, manufacture and assembly of aircraft to being a world class manufacturer of aircraft components for leading manufacturers, and is highly regarded for its work in the area of advanced composite carbon fibre technology. This world-class specialisation has led to work as sole source of the wholly-composite rudder for the Boeing 777 and designing and building the moveable trailing edges on the world’s most advanced new aircraft, the super-efficient Boeing 787.

After the Great War, New Zealand bought two of first aircraft ever built by Boeing, the B&W floatplane. Both two-float seaplanes were used for pilot training, and one of the B&Ws made New Zealand’s first official airmail flight on December 16, 1919. However, the fate of these first Boeings remains one of aviation’s great mysteries. In spite of searches in a number of military storage tunnels around Auckland, they have never been found.

In 1936, the Douglas Aircraft Company sold its first DC-2 to Australia, followed soon after by the DC-3 of World War II fame. Boeing, McDonnell Douglas and North American Aviation companies provided technology, know-how and military aircraft to Australia during World War II, including the highly successful DC-3, the Dolphin, the Boston, the B-25 Mitchell bomber and the Australian produced P-51 Mustang. Two hundred Mustang aircraft were built in Australia between 1945 and 1951 and a further 299 imported from North American Aviation.

The Douglas DC-4 entered service in Australia in 1947 and the Boeing B-29, acquired from the Royal Air Force, was operated at Woomera in 1952. During the Korean War, Australia needed a new frontline fighter aircraft, and the RAAF selected the North American Aviation F-86 Sabre powered by a Rolls-Royce engine. Australia built 112 Sabres under license to North American Aviation between 1954 and 1961.

The Australian flag carrier Qantas was the first international customer for the first jet commercial airplane built by Boeing, the 707. The Boeing 707 was introduced into Australia in 1959 to meet the Qantas requirement on its long-haul routes across the Pacific Ocean and the Kangaroo route to London. This very first Qantas 707 was recently returned to Australia with considerable assistance from Boeing for permanent display at the Qantas Founders Museum at Longreach, Queensland.

In 1960, the Collins Radio Company established its presence in Australia with an investment in the manufacture of communications equipment for the Australian Defence Force. This company, which became Rockwell Electronics and later Boeing Defence Australia, was the beginning of a long period of investment and technology transfer to Australia. The technology and expertise developed from that investment enabled Boeing Defence Australia to become a major military communications company and prime contractor for the ADF HF Communications Network Modernisation and the Air Defence Command & Control System.

In 1967, North American Aviation and Rockwell merged. In the same year, McDonnell Douglas supplied the A-4 Skyhawk to the Royal Australian Navy and the DC-9 to Trans-Australia Airlines (now part of Qantas) and Ansett Airlines. From 1970 to 1973, the RAAF leased 24 F-4 Phantom fighters from the U.S. Air Force to fill the gap until the F-111 arrived. Boeing introduced the 747 jumbo jet to Qantas in 1971, the CH-47 Chinook helicopter to the RAAF in 1974, and the 737 and 767 in 1981–1983 to the local airlines.

From 1985 to 1990, 73 F/A-18A/B Hornet fighters were assembled in Australia, by ASTA, under license to McDonnell Douglas, with a substantial number of its components manufactured locally by CAC, ASTA and 15 other companies.

In 1991, the former Rockwell Australia won a contract to become the prime contractor for the RF/F-111C avionics upgrade program. The first RF/F 111C aircraft was modified, tested and certified in the United States and subsequent aircraft modified in Australia. In 1995, the company acquired AeroSpace Technologies of Australia (ASTA) from the Commonwealth and became a major supplier of complex aerocomponents to the world’s leading aircraft manufacturers.

With the acquisition of the Rockwell aerospace and defense businesses by Boeing in 1996 and subsequent merger with McDonnell Douglas, the now-named Boeing Defence Australia expanded its activities and increased its access to new products and technology. It was awarded the contract to modernize the Australian Defence Force’s high-frequency communications network in 1997 and is has recently completed production of an air defense network for the RAAF.

In 2000, Boeing won a contract for the RAAF Airborne Early Warning & Control project, also known as Wedgetail, with Boeing Defence Australia as its principal Australian partner. The initial contract was later increased to six aircraft, with the final four to be converted at Boeing Defence Australia’s Amberley facility, near Brisbane. All aircraft are scheduled for delivery by the end of 2009. 2000 was also the year Boeing acquired Hawker de Havilland, now Boeing Aerostructures Australia, as well as Jeppesen’s Australian operations, which included C-Map, Carmen and Preston Aviation Solutions.

Alteon became a wholly owned subsidiary of Boeing in 2002, and operates within Boeing Commercial Airplanes’ Commercial Aviation Services (CAS). Boeing acquired Aviall in 2006 and Insitu Inc., in 2008 – adding further expertise to Boeing’s Australian capabilities.

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Page last modified: 27-03-2012 18:13:05 ZULU