Australian Wedgetails and Poseidons receive paint job from local supplier
BRISBANE, Australia, July 19, 2023 - Boeing [NYSE:BA] has signed a three-year strategic agreement with family-owned Flying Colours Aviation (FCA) to paint Australia’s E-7A Wedgetail and P-8A Poseidon aircraft as part of deeper maintenance services.
“The increased volume of work resulting from the commencement of deeper maintenance on the RAAF’s fleet of 12 P-8A aircraft this year, along with our ongoing commitments on E-7A, was the trigger for a formalised, ongoing strategic agreement between Boeing and FCA,” said Darryn Fletcher, Boeing Defence Australia (BDA) director of Commercial Derivative Aircraft.
It is anticipated that FCA will paint between nine to 12 aircraft over the course of the initial three-year agreement with options to extend the contract into the future.
“FCA is providing a critical service in support of Defence’s commercial derivative aircraft – and is one of the only suppliers in Australia who can physically accommodate a P-8A,” Fletcher said. “They also meet our requirements in terms of environmentally friendly and sustainable business practices through the use of alternatives to harmful chemicals and processes that reduce material and waste volumes.
“FCA have held contracts to paint Boeing 737s for QANTAS and Virgin for almost 22 years so have the proven capability, facility and accreditation to paint Defence’s 737 derivatives.”
Repainting is the final step of the P-8A and E-7A’s deeper maintenance services performed by BDA around every 72 months. It involves stripping the aircraft back to bare metal; inspecting and repairing for corrosion, defects and dents; painting and applying decals.
The aircraft are transferred from BDA’s deeper maintenance facilities at RAAF Base Edinburgh and Amberley to FCA at Townsville airport.
“Due to their unique flying conditions, Defence aircraft require painting more often – with a five-to-seven-year cycle, as opposed to 10-12 years for commercial aircraft,” said Lloyd Armstrong, Project Manager at Flying Colours Aviation.
“As a low-flying maritime platform which is regularly exposed to salt spray, the P-8A is more susceptible to corrosion and the E-7A is based in Newcastle, near the ocean, so it also has significant exposure to a corrosive environment.”
To date, FCA has painted four E-7A Wedgetails and completed its first P-8A earlier this year, with the second P-8A scheduled in July.
“It cannot be understated how important small local businesses are to BDA and to our defence customer in ensuring sovereign capability,” Fletcher said. “We are proud to partner with FCA to grow their defence industry credentials and look forward to this being a successful long-term partnership.”