TAE Aerospace CEO Andrew Sanderson says the new facility has allowed the business to more efficiently conduct maintenance on RAAF aircraft engines.
TAE Aerospace CEO Andrew Sanderson says the new facility has allowed the business to more efficiently conduct maintenance on RAAF aircraft engines.

Aerospace giant’s handy purchase paying off

SIX MONTHS after transforming a hardware store into a state of the art defence engine maintenance hub, TAE Aerospace has settled into new surroundings with a workforce of more than 200.

The aerospace company relocated the majority of its fighter jet and tank engine maintenance and repair operations from Amberley RAAF Base earlier this year, after refurbishing the former Masters Bundamba site at a cost of more than $66 million.

As part of the refurbishment, a new administration building with room for a parts manufacturing facility was built in front of the existing warehouse, and additional wings were added on the eastern and western sides of the old warehouse.

The new site is home to repairs for engines from the F404 Classis Hornet, F414 Super Hornet and Growler, the F-135 Joint Strike Fighter and the AG-1500 Abrams Tank.

TAE Aerospace CEO Andrew Sanderson said the new facility was operating efficiently due to an improved layout.

TAE Aerospace at Bundamba. Picture: Cordell Richardson
TAE Aerospace at Bundamba. Picture: Cordell Richardson

“It is chalk and cheese in terms of layout and capability compared to where we have come from,” he said.

“Here it is a single layout. The engines arrive, they are dismantled, checked, repaired, reassembled and shipped for testing.”

Due to noise restrictions, the test cell for the aircraft engines will remain at Amberley.

The facility is also undergoing a major upgrade at the moment, which will allow it to be able to test the new Joint Strike Fighter F-135 engine.

Adopting an existing building at Bundamba saved TAE Aerospace an estimated nine months in construction time.

Since construction was completed, the entrance road into the facility has been renamed as “Jet Place” to reflect the new hub of activity taking place behind tightly secured doors.

Mr Sanderson said there was still more to come, with the new manufacturing facility under development.

A new manufacturing room is being established at the Bundamba facility, allowing 25 workers to relocate from Amberley by the end of this year.
A new manufacturing room is being established at the Bundamba facility, allowing 25 workers to relocate from Amberley by the end of this year.

“We still have manufacturing for the Joint Strike Fighter happening at Amberley until the end of this year, when we will have the new manufacturing room ready,” he said.

“This will be where we will make what we call an avionics chassis, which is basically a liquid cooled aluminium box.

“Once the manufacturing room is ready we will bring across those 25 workers still at Amberley.”

With 15 new roles created, TAE’s Ipswich operations have also recruited about 70 people since the move, across a wide range of skills.