Boeing, Commonwealth Partner to Maintain Australian Supply Chain
March 2, 2017
Faced last year with the potential of an Australian supplier shutting down production of critical Defence materiel, Boeing and the Commonwealth of Australia implemented an innovative contract that demonstrates their commitment to supporting Australian industry.
Under terms of the agreement, Boeing Defence Australia, a wholly-owned subsidiary of The Boeing Company, purchased 200 Joint Direct Attack Munition Extended Range (JDAM ER) wing kits from Brisbane-based Ferra Engineering. Half of those were sold immediately to the Commonwealth; the other half can be purchased in the future by the Commonwealth or another Boeing customer.
“We found ourselves in the unique position of being able to support our Air Force customer and Australian industry at the same time,” said Syd Blocher, Boeing vice president, Defense Space & Security Global Sales & Marketing for Australia and Southeast Asia. “The solution we put in place with the Capability Acquisition and Sustainment Group adds a critical capability to our customer’s inventory, keeps a trusted supplier in place, and maintains approximately 35 Australian jobs at Small and Medium-sized Enterprises.”
The agreement allows Ferra and its supply chain consisting of up to 30 local suppliers to continue producing parts for the JDAM ER modular wing kit used by the Royal Australian Air Force.
“If this order was not received, it would have meant the loss of critical indigenous capability,” said Aaron Thompson, a Regional Director of Ferra Engineering. “The JDAM ER capability is a perfect example of an Australian made product, with high global export potential. The positive outcome reached between all parties really benefits the entire supply chain, not just Ferra.”
JDAM is a low-cost guidance kit that converts existing unguided bombs into near- precision weapons. Including the JDAM ER wing kit, Boeing designed JDAM technology to accept a variety of upgrades such as a laser sensor, improved immunity to GPS jamming, and an all-weather radar sensor.
Since 2013, Ferra Engineering has supplied Boeing with major sub-assemblies for the JDAM ER modular wing kit from its Brisbane facility. With that contract fulfilled, Ferra would have had to close the line without the new agreement in place.