Under the proposal, a new version of the Albatross flying boat will be built in Darwin, featuring digital avionics and enhanced turboprop engines from Pratt and Whitney.
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According to the company, the 8 December announcement has been a result of years of coordination between Amphibian Aerospace Industries (AAI) and the Northern Territory government to support the creation of a manufacturing sector in Darwin.
Khoa Hoang, chairman of AAI, expressed praise for the Northern Territory government for making strides in reviving Australian aircraft manufacturing capabilities.
“It’s a long time since sovereign aircraft manufacturing on this scale has been considered viable in Australia, but the G-111T Albatross has one of the greatest business cases in aircraft manufacturing making it ideal to be manufactured locally and perfect to be made right here in the Northern Territory,” Hoang said.
“Chief Minister [Michael] Gunner has shared our vision that the G-111T Albatross is an incredible aircraft of great and practical use to humanity, whether for registered passenger transport, humanitarian assistance, search and rescue, freight, coastal surveillance, drug enforcement or a host of other roles.
“Today’s announcement is just the beginning as we are already working on next-generation technologies to produce new variants such as the zero emissions-hybrid powered Albatross and even a stretched 44 seat variant,” Hoang concluded.
AAI acquired the Albatross type certificate several years ago, and over that time, developed a leading team to support the development of an adjacent manufacturing capability.
“We are proud to have chosen Pratt and Whitney, the number one power plant manufacturer in the world to power the Albatross with their PT6A-67F engine. This iconic company has shared our vision from the beginning, and I extend special thanks to the Pratt and Whitney Canada team including Frank Nel and VP Business Development, Anthony Rossi,” Hoang said.
“We have also uncovered a lot of smart people with incredible expertise here in our own country. Companies like Heat Treatment Australia and Nupress Group which are involved in making the landing gear for the F35 Fighter and we have earmarked them to make the Albatross landing gear. Also, our own subsidiary 5 Rings Aerospace working with the Australian Stroke Alliance and RMIT University to design an aeromedical installation.
“The global market for the Albatross G-111T is enormous and it holds a monopoly in its class. It doesn’t compete with larger passenger aircraft, instead it compliments them which is why it’s the perfect platform to build in Australia and rekindle our sovereign aircraft manufacturing capability,” Hoang said.
“There are many people to thank for achieving this milestone today, but I must particularly acknowledge the tireless efforts of our CEO Dan Webster, Northern Territory investment commissioner Andy Cowan, Major Project commissioner Jason Schoolmeester and the Investment Territory team, and the Darwin International Airport team, all of whom have applied highly professional due diligence to get this done.”
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