Australian Aerospace faces challenges

Australian Aerospace, the Eurocopter subsidiary in Australia, sees low civil orders and has to fight for new defence business.

In addition to its commercial helicopter activities, Australian Aerospace currently is assembling and delivering 22 Tiger ARH Armed Reconnaissance Helicopters to the Australian Army and 46 MRH90 Multi-Role Helicopters to the Army and Navy. It is also a contender for the new combat helicopter for the Australian Navy, offering the NH90 NFH Naval Frigate Helicopter now enteringservice worldwide.

“The two years since the last Avalon Air Show has been a period of both achievement and challenge for Australian Aerospace,” says CEO of Australian Aerospace Dr. Jens Goennemann. “During this time we have significantly expanded our industrial footprint in Australia and the region.” The company now employs more than 1,100 people across 14 sites in Adelaide, Bankstown, Brisbane, Darwin, Ingleburn, Moorabbin, Oakey, Redcliffe, Richmond, Sydney,Townsville and Auckland.

“On the Civil side of our business, Australian Aerospace continued to hold the no. 1 position in Australia, New Zealand and the South Pacific, during what has been a period of challenging economic conditions,” continues Dr. Goennemann. “Australian Aerospace managed to achieve
its main economic targets, and while the market for new helicopters in Australia and New Zealand remained flat throughout 2010, the company still delivered 19 helicopters, which was in line with its projections.“

“In terms of future orders, 2011 could prove to be the most difficult year since the global financial crisis first hit, due to tight credit and conservative investment conditions and a sales pool of near new aircraft across the region,” Dr. Goennemann explains.

“On the Military side, we have delivered the 19th Tiger ARH helicopter to the Australian Army and the 13th MRH90 helicopter to the Army and Navy,” he said. “With the strong commitment of the Queensland Government, we believe we have also made a convincing case for the NH90 NFH to be chosen as the Navy’s new combat helicopter. The NFH offers superior operational capabilities and a compelling industrial proposal.”

“However, our Military business has not been without its challenges,” Dr. Goennemann said, “most notably returning the MRH90 helicopter to normal operational status with the Australian Defence Force (ADF).”

Following an incident in South Australia last year Australian Aerospace and Eurocopter have been working closely with engine manufacturer, Rolls-Royce Turbomecca, to identify the cause and find a solution. “We have been successful in that endeavour, and the Commonwealth has accepted our technical analysis which will lead to a solution enabling the ADF to return its MRH90s to the full schedule of flying and testing,” he said.

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