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August 2020 - Air Affairs Australia cutting-edge sovereign manufacturing capability

Regional New South Wales engineering services provider, Air Affairs Australia, has developed cutting-edge sovereign manufacturing capability to deliver defence contracts, with its latest win being the supply of 211 Tactical Edge Server (TES) cases for the LAND 400 Phase 2 BOXER 8x8 Combat Reconnaissance Vehicle.

An Australian-owned small-to-medium enterprise employing 180 people solely on defence and defence industry contracts, the company’s turnkey solution for the TES – a ruggedised, high performance computing and network device – was originally developed by Boeing Defence Australia (BDA) for Project Currawong battlespace communication system.

“This a significant advancement because a product we have manufactured for one platform is now transferable to another,” said Air Affairs Production Manager, Darren Bramley.

Air Affairs completes the vast majority of metal work for BDA’s Project Currawong – a contract which has fostered significant growth for the company.

“The nature of Currawong, with its agile development approach and aggressive timelines, meant we could no longer rely on subcontractors for work such as processing anodising so we invested in our own machinery. This has not only enabled us to meet our contractual obligations to Boeing, but given us an advantage for other contracts,” said Bramley.

“We’ve also invested heavily in advancements and automation – with certain components manufactured overnight in an unmanned ‘lights out manufacturing’ environment.”

Having this type of advanced machining capability in a regional town such as Nowra has provided exceptional opportunity for local people to develop specialty skillsets they otherwise would have had to move to bigger centres to acquire.

“Our Boeing contracts have enabled us to employ additional people, including providing career pathways for up to ten apprentices.

“We’ve also had the benefit of Boeing Project Currawong engineers visiting our operations to work directly with the team to ensure that manufacturing capability can help to inform the design process, ultimately delivering a better end product for the customer.” 

Air Affairs Australia has worked closely and collaboratively with Boeing Defence Australia since the commencement of Project Currawong in 2014.

“They have purchased equipment at their own risk in order to guarantee a level of quality to the project and, throughout the project, have proposed several improvements and simplified various module designs, making our hardware simpler and quicker to manufacture,” said Project Currawong program director, Ian Vett.

“The nature of the agile development process has meant we have had to continually push boundaries and require the Air Affairs team work at pace. Their ability to do so was a key factor in ensuring we were able to deliver Release 1 of our solution to the customer on time.”

Click here to read the announcement on the Department of Defence Ministers website

Click here to read the story on the Boeing Australia website

Air Affairs Advanced Manufacturing

Tactical Edge Server unit. (image courtesy of Boeing Australia)