Updated 16 October 2022
Boeing Defence Australia, Sydney and Brisbane
In mid-September, King Arthur’s Writes was a guest of Boeing Defence Australia for a media tour to look at some of the latter’s defence activities in support of the Australian Defence Force. First stop was HMAS Albatross at Nowra, a couple of hours’ drive south of Sydney. At this location, Boeing Defence Australia provides the Helicopter Aircrew Training System (HATS) for both the Australian Army and Royal Australian Navy. The Joint Helicopter School, operating under 723 Squadron, achieved an initial operating capability in early 2019. In the month of August this year, it achieved a record 740 hours of training. The HATS programme utilises 15 Airbus H135 T2+ twin-engine helicopters for crew and pilot training.
Next stop was Boeing Defence Australia’s headquarters in Brisbane. There, media were introduced to the maintenance and sustainment work that the company does for the CH-47F Chinook fleet of the Australian Army that is based in Townsville. The OEM also discussed its excited anticipation of the introduction of the 29-strong AH-64E Apache attack helicopter fleet for the army. The Apaches are replacements for the troubled Tiger helicopter. Another briefing covered Phantom Works, where a lot of “secret squirrelly” stuff happens. There it “engages, innovates and creates”, including projects such as the ability to identify enemy targets from UAV footage, and to decide optimum approach or evasion routes, using AI.
The final stop of the two-day media tour was to Insitu Pacific, which is situated in a suburb of Brisbane. The company is on a high after winning the army’s Project Land 129 Phase 3 programme with its Integrator UAV. The army has ordered some 24 Integrators, and 82% of the solution will be manufactured in Australia.