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Boeing invests $5 million in JP9102 manufacturing partners


Boeing Defence Australia has signed Memoranda of Agreement (MoAs) with seven Australian companies as part of its bid for Joint Project 9102, Defence’s sovereign Military Satellite Communications (MILSATCOM) program.

Quickstep Holdings, Crystalaid, Ferra, Nupress, Cablex, Lovitt, and Levett will be part of Boeing’s advanced satellite manufacturing team to support Australia’s growing space industry. Between them they will create almost 100 manufacturing and support jobs.

“These seven local suppliers will manufacture a wide variety of products from complex bus, payload and solar array composite structural assemblies to circuit card assemblies, harnesses, and various mechanism and machine part assemblies,” said Kathryn Burr, JP9102 Program Manager.

Boeing has committed more than $5 million to an 18-month development program, commencing in February to train, qualify, and transfer proprietary intellectual property and knowledge to its Australian manufacturing partners.

“We are investing in these partnerships ahead of the JP9102 down-select decision. We are helping these suppliers to build the capability they need to be part of Australia’s space sector and will actively look for opportunities for them to be part of our broader supply chain for Boeing Defence Australia and Boeing Space and Launch,” said Burr.

Mark Burgess, CEO and managing director of Quickstep Holdings said Boeing’s JP9102 Australian industry solution was a comprehensive manufacturing opportunity for the nation and would provide significant benefit to Quickstep and the broader Australian supply chain in terms of job and revenue creation.

“Boeing’s proposal is directly aligned to the requirements of the National Space Manufacturing Roadmap, and would create more than 50 jobs at Quickstep and, as important, create the capability for Australian industry to build and test satellite structures locally,” said Burgess.

Core to Boeing’s approach was to identify organisations that have the drive, innovation and capacity to play a key part in growing Australia’s space capability.

Circuit card assembly supplier, Crystalaid Manufacture views its JP9102 collaboration with Boeing as an opportunity to focus on business and technical improvements and anticipates its involvement will enable it to hire more highly skilled electronics technicians, expand its Brisbane production facilities, and enhance its ability to win other Defence work.

“This is a magnificent opportunity for our business to be mentored by one of the best design, production and logistics organisations in the world and supports Crystalaid and its parent company, Grabba Technologies’ mission to become a quality technology strategic partner for mission-critical defence and space operations,” said Ross McKinnon, Executive Chairman of the Grabba Technologies group.

“With Boeing’s support, we will leverage and evolve our existing capabilities in electrical wiring and interconnection systems, electromechanical assemblies, avionic bays, consoles and electrical enclosures to create a world-class space and satellite manufacturing capability,” said Michael Zimmer, CEO of Cablex. He anticipates creating up to 40 additional high-tech, highly-skilled, new jobs with flow on effects to its Australian supply chain and potential export opportunities

The addition of these seven Australian manufacturers boosts Boeing’s strong local satellite manufacturing capability, with additive manufacturing partnerships with RMIT and Titomic already in place.

Boeing’s JP9102 Australian industry team also includes Saber Astronautics, Clearbox Systems, Leidos, ViaSat, and the Indigenous Defence and Infrastructure Consortium.

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