Dassault Systèmes has joined Amphibian Aerospace Industries (AAI) in its mission to develop an updated model of the iconic Albatross G-111T aircraft.
Australian Aviation revealed in December that a new version of the legendary Albatross flying boat will be built in Darwin, featuring digital avionics and enhanced turboprop engines from Pratt & Whitney.
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.
Under the newest partnership, Dassault Systèmes will create a virtual twin of the aircraft via the 3DEXPERIENCE program and work alongside AAI to develop a robust supply chain and business ecosystem to support the development of the updated aircraft.
According to AAI, throughout the engagement, the pair will work intimately with the Northern Territory government to facilitate the development of an aviation manufacturing precinct in Darwin.
Albatross seaplanes were originally manufactured between 1947 and 1961 and used by the US military in the Korean and Vietnam Wars.
It is hoped that the development of the plane will create a new industry for the city – resulting in more jobs, skills and education for the city.
AAI plans to have the aircraft CASA-certified within 18 months and begin production by 2025.
“We have never had a commercial transport category aircraft manufacturer on this scale in Australia; so, it’s a great opportunity not only for AAI, but also for the supply chain that will grow around our business,” said Dan Webster, chief executive officer of Amphibian Aerospace Industries.
“Dassault Systèmes will be an essential member of Team Albatross, providing innovative digital capabilities and aviation expertise.”
The partnership was welcomed by NT Chief Minister Michael Gunner, noting that several leading companies have now invested in the Territory.
“This is another significant step forward in what will be a long-term creator of highly skilled jobs for the Northern Territory,” Chief Minister Gunner said.
“Dassault Systèmes is a global leader in the aviation sector and its partnership with Amphibian Aerospace Industries will accelerate the journey toward manufacturing these legendary seaplanes right here in Darwin.
“The Northern Territory is Australia’s best investment right now and everyone from mining giants to multinational French aviation leaders is buying into the comeback.”
Josephine Ong, managing director – Asia-Pacific South at Dassault Systèmes, explained that the company is ready to rise to the challenge of supporting the creation the Albatross and a new aviation sector for NT.
“Every 2.5 seconds an airplane takes off with an engine designed using our technology. For more than 40 years, we have enabled aviation pioneers to accelerate innovation, by using virtual twin experiences to imagine, design and test radically new products, materials, and manufacturing processes.
“Our specialised technology and aviation expertise will build a strong sustainable foundation in industry for Northern Territory, Australia and beyond. We are excited to soar through the skies with AAI and Northern Territory government,” Ong said.
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.
Additional reporting by Hannah Dowling.