Amphibian Aerospace announced today that it has struck a deal with the Northern Territory government to set up a manufacturing plant in Darwin.
Sydney-based Amphibian Aerospace holds the type certificates for the HU-16 and G-111T variants of the Grumman Albatross.
The Darwin plant will manufacture G-111Ts fitted with modern avionics and Pratt & Whitney PT6A-67F turbo-prop engines.
AAI Chairman Khoa Hoang said the Northern Territory government had recognised the global market potential for the G-111T Albatross and the role it could play in reviving Australia’s aircraft manufacturing industry.
“It’s a long time since sovereign aircraft manufacturing on this scale has been considered viable in Australia," Khoa said, "but the G-111T Albatross has one of the greatest business cases in aircraft manufacturing making it ideal to be manufactured locally and perfect to be made right here in the Northern Territory.”
“Chief Minister [Michael] Gunner has shared our vision that the G-111T Albatross is an incredible aircraft of great and practical use to humanity, whether for registered passenger transport, humanitarian assistance, search and rescue, freight, coastal surveillance, drug enforcement or a host of other roles.
“Today’s announcement is just the beginning as we are already working on next generation technologies to produce new variants such as the Zero Emissions-Hybrid powered Albatross and even a stretched 44 seat variant."
The original G-111 was powered by Wright R-1820 radial engines, but the new aircraft coming out of the Darwin plant will have 1700-shp turbines.
“We are delighted to be playing a role in the modernization of the G-111T aircraft which has such an illustrious history,” said Nicholas Kanellias, vice president, General Aviation, Pratt & Whitney Canada.
“The PT6A-67F engines, each with 1700 mechanical shaft horsepower (SHP), will provide the G-111T with superior performance, greater range and the benchmark reliability and dependability characteristics that are common to PT6A-powered aircraft.”
Khoa said the G-111T held a monopoly in its class, but wouldn't compete with larger passenger aircraft.
"Instead it compliments them, which is why it’s the perfect platform to build in Australia and rekindle our sovereign aircraft manufacturing capability."
“There is much hard work still to be done to deliver our vision but I know the team we are building will deliver a program of immense social and economic benefit to the people of the Northern Territory and Australia."
In 2016, Amphibian Aerospace signed a 40-year lease with Central Coast Council to set up a manufacturing plant at Warnervale, NSW, but an aerospace business precinct envisaged for the airport became contentious within the council, which is believed to have caused legal problems.