Joint Strike Fighter work set for old Ipswich Masters site
TAE Aerospace has purchased the former Masters building near Ipswich and will transform the site into a state-of-the-art aerospace facility.
Central to the move is the need to cater for significant new maintenance, repair, overhaul and upgrade work on the F135 engine of all F-35 Joint Strike Fighter aircraft operating in the Asia-Pacific region.
Capability stand up for the F135 engine work is required in the first quarter of 2019, and TAE has entered into an agreement with the Department of Defence to develop the facility to meet stringent requirements for the new engine technology.
As part of the agreement, TAE will extend the building's floorplan to also accommodate the F404, F414 and AGT1500 engine programs, its aerospace engineering team and an expanded advanced manufacturing capability.
Engine test cell facilities will remain at the company's current headquarters at the RAAF Base in Amberley due to their noise levels.
According to TAE CEO Andrew Sanderson, redevelopment works planned for the RAAF Base ruled out expanding existing facilities to cater for the volume of new work from Asia-Pacific. A number of alternatives were considered, including greenfield sites.
"Buying an existing building rather than starting with a block of land has saved us six months of development time, and with the Masters building already designed and finished to a high standard it stood out as the best option for us and our customer," he said.
"We have just signed an agreement with a local builder now we are ready to start transforming this building into the most advanced military engine facility in the Southern Hemisphere.
Sanderson said that nothing has been left to chance when it comes to configuring the internal design for efficiency and productivity.
"We have conducted time and motion studies and designed the footprint to optimise everything from production throughput, to the flow of goods and movement of parts, to the technology requirements.
"We have operated from the RAAF base since 2000 and achieved great outcomes there, but we have outgrown it now and having our workforce spread over multiple buildings is not ideal for productivity.
"As well as being together in one building, the Bundamba location is great for us. We are close to Ipswich where many of our people live, it brings us closer to the Brisbane CBD as well as the port for deliveries, and there is good access to public transport.
"This new building is a great step forward for our Defence programs, and one we are very pleased take some six years after developing the best engine facility in the Southern Hemisphere for turbo-prop engines in Adelaide.
"Having world-leading facilities is a great start, and we need to make sure that translates for customers into the best quality, reliability and turnaround available.
"Our focus is on how we deliver world-leading outcomes for our customers, and in this case our Defence programs. That is always where we set our sights, and that's the end goal of this move for us," he said.