A new version of the legendary Albatross flying boat will be built in Darwin, featuring digital avionics and enhanced turboprop engines from Pratt & Whitney.
Manufacturers Amphibian Aerospace Industries (AAI) said the new generation G-111T is an “incredible aircraft of great and practical use to humanity” because of its huge variety of uses, including search and rescue, freight and coastal surveillance.
Albatross seaplanes were originally manufactured between 1947 and 1961 and used by the US military in the Korean and Vietnam wars.
AAI plans to have the aircraft CASA-certified within 18 months and begin production by 2025.
The business’ chairman, Khoa Hoang, said, “It’s a long time since sovereign aircraft manufacturing on this scale has been considered viable in Australia, 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.
“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.”
AAI acquired the Albatross type certificate several years ago, and over that time, developed a leading team to support the development of an adjacent manufacturing capability.
The final deal was said to have been a result of years of coordination between AAI and the NT government.
“We have also uncovered a lot of smart people with incredible expertise here in our own country,” Hoang said.
“Companies like Heat Treatment Australia and Nupress Group which are involved in making the landing gear for the F35 Fighter and we have earmarked them to make the Albatross landing gear.
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“Also, our own subsidiary 5 Rings Aerospace working with the Australian Stroke Alliance and RMIT University to design an aeromedical installation.
“The global market for the Albatross G-111T is enormous and it holds a monopoly in its class. It doesn’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.”
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