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AIR 7003 decision to support Aussie engine maintenance and sustainment opportunities

TAE Aerospace will leverage experience developed as part of the F-35 sustainment chain to position itself as a key support provider for Australia’s future fleet of armed unmanned aerial systems as part of AIR 7003.

TAE's service offering as the lead engine maintenance, repair and operations (MRO) provider for the Reaper variant's Honeywell TPE331 engine builds on the company's experience as part of the F-35 and, critically, the company's commercial experience servicing the engine system for Australian and Asia-Pacific region airlines from a specialised Adelaide facility to support Team Reaper Australia's (TRA) capability offering.  

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TAE Aerospace chief executive and managing director Andrew Sanderson told Defence Connect, "The RAAF's yet-to-be-confirmed selection of a Reaper-based RPAS variant will support TAE's long-term growth through increased engine servicing requirements and it supports business diversity by enabling us to balance the civilian and military requirements."

Following the purchase of Tenix Aviation in 2009, TAE's Adelaide facility achieved 'Authorised Service Centre' status from Honeywell as the original equipment manufacturer (OEM) responsible for servicing a number of engines aside from the Honeywell TPE331, and includes the Pratt & Whitney PT6A and the General Electric H80/M601. 

"What sets TAE’s offering apart is that the company has perfected the MRO capability through long-term contracts supporting commercial airlines throughout the region and we look forward to providing the same services to the RAAF’s Reaper fleet," Sanderson added. 

Additionally, the Adelaide facility supports a range of services, including: 

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  • Engine repair and overhaul for TPE331 worldwide;
  • PT6A and H80/M601 MRO;
  • CAM inspections (TPE331 only);
  • Hot section and gearbox inspections;
  • AGB repairs;
  • Power section repairs;
  • Boroscope inspections;
  • Exhaust duct replacement; 
  • Engine performance runs in dynamometer test cell;
  • Field service repairs;
  • 24-hour customer help line;
  • Engine troubleshooting; 
  • Exchange line replaceable units including fuel nozzles; and
  • Part sales for both the PT6A and TPE331 engines.

This company diversity, experience and reputation established across both commercial and military aerospace programs provides both TRA and the Royal Australian Air Force with an established, unique and world-leading sovereign Australian industry capability that is sustainable through a combination of both commercial and military contracts.

"We have a specialised, state-of-the-art facility which we opened in 2012, which allows for the complete overhaul, maintenance and testing of engines that will power Australia's RPAS fleet," Sanderson said.

TAE Aerospace has used the experience and capability development as a result of its participation in the global F-35 program to position itself as one of the key members of TRA supporting the RAAF acquisition of a General Atomics Reaper-based armed unmanned aerial systems (UAS) as part of the AIR 7003.

The TRA team currently consists of 10 Australian companies providing a range of innovative sensor, communication, manufacturing and life cycle support capabilities that includes Cobham, CAE, Raytheon, Flight Data Systems, TAE Aerospace, Quickstep, AirSpeed, Rockwell Collins Australia, Ultra and SentientVision.

Project AIR 7003 will provide the ADF with an armed medium-altitude, long-endurance (MALE) RPA system that will include aircraft and ground control stations (GCS) that will be fully inter-operable with Australia’s allies.

General Atomics Aeronautical Systems, an affiliate of privately-held General Atomics, is a leading manufacturer of remotely piloted aircraft systems, radars and electro-optic and related mission systems solutions.

AIR 7003 decision to support Aussie engine maintenance and sustainment opportunities
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