Boeing assembly and test facility official opening

Release details

Release type

Related ministers and contacts

The Hon Melissa Price MP

Minister for Defence Industry

Minister for Science and Technology

Release content

28 October 2019

Thank you Scott for your introduction – it’s a pleasure to be here at Boeing today.

I know that it has been a difficult few weeks recently but I know that Darren would have been proud.

I would like to acknowledge the traditional custodians of the land on which we meet, the Turrbal People, and pay my respects to their elders past, present and emerging.

I would also like to acknowledge and thank all current and former service men and women here this morning for your service.

Welcome Premier Palaszczuk, Milton Dick, and senior Defence personnel.

What a fantastic day for Australia’s defence industry and the Australian Defence Force.

Boeing has a significant presence in Australia – Boeing’s largest footprint outside the United States.

Across Australia, Boeing’s more-than three thousand employees are involved in many new technologies and concepts:

  • advanced manufacturing of commercial aircraft components;
  • in the design and development of defence systems;
  • in modelling and simulation;
  • in research and development;
  • in support and training; and
  • in unmanned systems.

The opening of this new facility today means that the Australian Defence Force has a state of the art assembly and testing site right here in Queensland.

This facility will play an instrumental role in delivering Project CURRAWONG — the Integrated Battlefield Telecommunications Network, also known as the I-BTN, to Army and Air Force.

A few years ago, Boeing replied to a competitive tender from Defence to supply a new and modern telecommunications network.

During the tender, and since signing contracts in September 2015, Boeing has put its brightest minds on a problem every modern military faces: how do we best communicate with our deployed troops?

Boeing has considered the complexities of providing a communications system to a Defence Force that needs to:

  • withstand the challenges of emerging cyber threats,
  • to be flexible enough to support the many roles it is asked by Government;
  • be robust enough to survive harsh conditions; and
  • provide for a modern network management and control solution that is both simple and flexible.

The answer Boeing came up with is the I-BTN.

It’s a solution which uses the most advanced technologies in satellite, radio and cyber technology to transfer secure data, voice and video communications between Australian headquarters and globally deployed forces.

It is a network which has already revolutionised the way our Defence Force communicates and will continue to revolutionise the way Defence plans and executes its communications.

The I-BTN provides a secure way to send voice, data and video communications between organisations and units, no matter where in the world they are.

The network is able to work both between present capabilities and those under development— allowing the Australian Defence Force the flexibility to adapt to the future.

And it will be scalable, too — allowing us to match our capacity to our operational requirements, while also providing space for future expansion.

The I-BTN will give the Defence Force the advanced, agile and adaptable technology a modern military needs, while also helping to build our sovereign capability.

Which brings us nicely to why we are here today.

This $7.5 million facility demonstrates how the Morrison Government’s substantial investment in Australia’s defence capability is creating new opportunities, and of course, new jobs, in our defence industry.

This facility is a key building block.

Not only does it provide the necessary infrastructure to build the equipment and integrate it into vehicles, but it also provides the necessary infrastructure to test the equipment.

During my tour just now, I was impressed with the level of sophistication on display.

The test facility can subject equipment to all sorts of conditions – such as dust, sand, wind, rain, salt and altitude.

There are bake ovens and freezers to see how equipment stands up to extreme temperatures – from minus 30 degrees to more than 70 degrees.

There are shake tables capable of producing intense vibration.

There are drop facilities to test against impact.

All conditions which the equipment would be expected to operate in.

And – there are chambers to test how the I-BTN equipment will work with other communications equipment.

Boeing will engage some 200 Australian businesses, many of which are Queensland based, for the production and supply of components and parts.

And I commend Boeing for their support of Australian industry through this project.

I am pleased to see several businesses here today, showcasing how they’ll contribute to this capability. 

It’s also fantastic to see that Boeing has directly employed 210 people on the CURRAWONG project — many of whom, I’m pleased to say, are recent graduates.

Students specialised in engineering, software, IT networking and logistics support.

Young people who represent the next generation of thinking and manufacturing in Australia.

I would like to thank Boeing for recognising the great talent we have in Australia, and for tapping into that talent.

Boeing Defence Australia’s 2,000-strong team develops and supports some of the country’s largest defence projects and is at the forefront of solving some of the most complex of defence problems.

From the impressive airborne early warning and control system of the E-7A Wedgetail – successfully exported to international customers including South Korea and Britain – to the complex battlespace communication system solution you are seeing here today.

Boeing in Australia is working with the ADF to develop Australian sovereign capability that is not only world-class by Australian standards – but truly world-leading.

Together, we are building the capability our military needs, while also creating the conditions for a thriving – and self-sufficient – Australian defence industry.

Congratulations Scott and your team – I have no doubt we’ll be hearing of your continued success in the future.

Thank you.

Other related releases