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Hawker de Havilland Australia

De Havilland Australia was established in Melbourne in March 1927, and was the first overseas subsidiary of the de Havilland Aircraft Company. De Havilland Australia became Hawker de Havilland Australia in 1961 and acquired the former Commonwealth Aircraft Corporation in 1986. In late 2000, following the acquisition of Hawker de Havilland by The Boeing Company, it was merged with the already owned AeroSpace Technologies of Australia. In 2009, Hawker de Havilland changed its name to Boeing Aerostructures Australia to better reflect its business as a major exporter of components to Boeing, Airbus, Lockheed Martin, Bombardier and other airplane manufacturers.

Moving to Sydney in 1930, De Havilland acted as an agency, with assembly, repair and spares facilities for the company’s popular sporting and airliner types. Aircraft design and full manufacture by de Havilland Australia was to wait until WWII, when production of the DH-82 Tiger Moth primary trainer commenced at Bankstown, NSW.

During the early 1940s, de Havilland Australia began converting their production from the Tiger Moth trainer and Dragon light transport to the Mosquito aircraft. Used as fighter-bomber and photo-reconnaissance aircraft, initial problems with the wooden materials and construction techniques were soon overcome and Australian-built Mosquitos entered service in 1944. 212 Mosquitos were built at Bankstown between 1943 and 1948, and served the RAAF until 1953.

Following World War II, aviation technology moved at a very rapid rate, with the introduction of the jet engine requiring new aircraft for the RAAF. By 1946, DAP had become the Government Aircraft Factories (GAF), and along with CAC and de Havilland Australia, all of the local companies were heavily involved with licence production of military aircraft for the RAAF. Major programs included the de Havilland Vampire fighter and trainer, with 190 built by de Havilland Australia. In addition to licence production, a number of locally-designed and built aircraft were produced during this period. De Havilland Australia designed the Drover light transport following World War II, and 20 of these three-engined aircraft were built between 1948 and 1952.

The name changed to Hawker de Havilland Australia Pty Ltd in 1961 when the company was bought by Hawker Siddeley. Among the tasks undertaken by the company were the manufacture, repair and overhaul of aircraft. During the 1980s the company underwent a change of name, becoming Hawker de Havilland Limited.

During the 1960s, another of the RAAF’s early jets was due for replacement, this time the De Havilland Vampire trainer. By 1965, the Italian Macchi MB326H had been chosen for local production, this time as a collaborative effort between CAC, and Hawker de Havilland, the newly renamed de Havilland Australia. 97 Macchis served with the RAAF between 1967 and 2001, when the type was replaced by the BAE Systems Hawk 127.

By the late 1970s, structural problems with the Macchi trainer resulted in a study for the replacement of this aircraft and the CT4 basic trainer with a new type. In 1981, a consortium consisting of CAC, GAF and HdH had formed to design and produce a training aircraft to this requirement. After changes in specifications, the failure of a possible British order for the aircraft and the expenditure of approximately $70m, the Wamira project was cancelled at the end of 1985. In its place, the Pilatus PC-9 was ordered for the RAAF, and HdH, who by this time had taken over CAC, built 65 of the 67 PC-9s ordered by the RAAF. This project was to be the last time aircraft were produced under licence in Australia. Subsequent programs such as the Sikorsky Black Hawk and Seahawk helicopters were assembled by HdH and GAF respectively, from imported components with minor local modifications.

In 1970 the industry took the first steps to move from being predominantly a producer of military aircraft for Australia to a producer of commercial aircraft structures and systems for the world market. Relationships were forged with Boeing, Airbus and other major manufacturers, and investments were made in new equipment and technologies to achieve competitiveness in a global market. Initially, the industry secured build-to-print contracts and progressed to design participation and then to design and build of increasingly larger, more complex structures. Hawker de Havilland's annual sales exceeded $300 million for 2001.

On 17 October 2000 the Boeing Company said that it intended to acquire Hawker de Havilland, the designer and manufacturer of commercial and military aircraft aerostructure components. Through its Boeing Australia Limited subsidiary, Boeing would acquire Hawker de Havilland from Tenix Holdings International Pty Limited, a privately held company. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. Employing more than 950 people, Hawker de Havilland had manufacturing operations at Bankstown, in Sydney, NSW; Fishermens Bend and Bayswater, in Melbourne, VIC; and a small procurement group in Los Angeles. Primary customers include Airbus UK, Alenia, BAE Systems, Boeing, Bombardier and Lockheed Martin. Hawker de Havilland revenues were more than $A160 million (US$92 million) in 1999.

Somewhere along the line, various other "Hawker" companies have emerged and merged. On 19 June 2001 agreement was reached to sell Hawker Pacific, one of Asia's leading general aviation specialists based in Singapore, Dubai and Sydney. Saab agreed in principle to a buy-out agreement with Lynton International Holdings Limited. Hawker Pacific are the Raytheon/Beechcraft representatives and Master Dealers for Australia, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea and the South Pacific, Indonesia, Philippines, Brunei, Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand as well as representing both Bell and Bell/-Agusta Aerospace Company in the UAE, Bahrain, Qatar and Oman.

In June 2001, European Aeronautic Defense & Space Co NV {EADS NV} announced it was buying Hawker Pacific, a defense subsidiary of Australian Aerospace, from Saab of Sweden. EADS acquired Australian Aerospace Pty Ltd, a manufacturer of aerospace and defense products, from Hawker Pacific Pty Ltd. in late June 2001. "Hawker Pacific's sale of the defence section within the company is part of the work to streamline Saab's operation, and it also benefits Hawker Pacific's business in Australia", Gert Schyborger, a member of Saab's executive management, said in a statement. Under the agreement, EADS acquired 100 percent of the defense activities of Hawker Pacific of Australia's Australian Aerospace defense subsidiary.

Hawker Pacific Aerospace, the multinational aircraft parts and repair company operating in the US and UK, is a descendant of the Hawker Siddeley Company. Hawker Pacific Aerospace was formed in 1980 within British Aerospace, and merged with Dunlop Aviation Inc. in 1994. Lufthansa Technik, a subsidiary of Deutsche Lufthansa, acquired Hawker Pacific in 2002. On 15 December 2010, Saab reduced its ownership share in the associated company Hawker Pacific Ltd from 49 per cent to 33 per cent when SEACOR Capital (Asia) Limited acquired a shareholder position by investing MUSD 25 in cash in Hawker Pacific Ltd in exchange for newly issued common stock.

Hawker Pacific Aerospace is sometimes confused with the larger Hawker Pacific Pty Ltd., which sold and maintained civilian and military aircraft and helicopters, and which had a chain of Australasian FBOs.

On May 26, 2005 Hawker de Havilland signed a $70 million, long-term agreement with Northrop Grumman Corporation to produce composite parts and subassemblies for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter center fuselage, a major section of the aircraft being developed by Northrop Grumman's Integrated Systems sector. "International participation is imperative to achieving the program's goal of developing the world's most advanced multi-role stealth combat aircraft," said Janis Pamiljans, Northrop Grumman vice president and F-35 program manager. "The F-35's unique blend of revolutionary and evolutionary technology from across the globe presents armed forces with the best combination of performance and price," Pamiljans said. "With development well underway, Northrop Grumman will continue to leverage the expertise of the program's international partners to help build an air system with unprecedented levels of interoperability for domestic and coalition forces."

When Boeing bought Hawker de Havilland from Tenix in 2000, it had 950 employees in Sydney, though by 2004 it had about 550 staff. In February 2009, Hawker de Havilland was renamed Boeing Aerostructures Australia. The company provides customers with a broad range of collaboration opportunities with a number of Australian research and development organisations, specialising in advanced composite carbon fibre technology.

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Page last modified: 27-03-2012 18:13:04 ZULU