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QinetiQ confirms Air Affairs Australia purchase

written by Adam Thorn | December 6, 2022

QinetiQ has formalised its earlier announced purchase of Australian special mission training business Air Affairs.

The newly-acquired company currently owns and operates a fleet of special mission 30 & 60 series Learjet and Kingairs, providing support services to Defence.

The aircraft also fulfil other special mission roles, including bushfire reconnaissance services, while AAA manufactures and provides operational services for the Phoenix Unmanned Aerial Target Drone.

The British-headquartered company’s CEO, Steve Wadey, said, “The acquisition further strengthens our long-term strategic partnership with the Australian Defence Force and underpins our market-leading position in T&E and air threat representation globally.


“The acquisition is an excellent strategic and cultural fit that grows our revenues in Australia by 40 per cent, and further reinforces the focus of our growth strategy on our six distinctive offerings in our three home countries, delivering mission-critical solutions for our customers.”

Air Affairs Australia (AAA) employs some 180 people and is headquartered in Nowra, NSW.

Its CEO, Chris Sievers, hailed the agreement as the beginning of a new era.

“We are looking forward to working together to deliver even greater value to our Defence and industry customers.”

It caps a busy year of changes in the sector after Leidos bought special mission assets from Cobham.

The deal included maritime surveillance and fixed-wing search and rescue alongside its mission aircrew training system.

“Cobham’s Special Mission team conducts essential operations that protect Australia’s borders, support law enforcement and environmental protection and save lives,” Roger Krone, chairman and CEO of Leidos, said.

“The integration of Special Mission into Leidos Australia will expand the scope of our global airborne ISR capabilities, diversify revenues, and open up new growth avenues.”

Cobham’s global parent company Advent International had been looking to sell off the company’s Australian business since February, opting to offload Cobham’s two major local units — its charter/FIFO business and its special missions unit — separately.

Rex earlier scooped up Cobham’s FIFO operation for $48 million and immediately announced it would expand its services further into Queensland and the Northern Territory.

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