Eurocopter, through its Australian subsidiary, Australian Aerospace, and the Austra-lian Government signed today a nine year contract worth 1 million for deeper maintenance of the RAAF AP-3C Orion aircraft. The AP-3C fleet is based at RAAF Ed-inburgh and the work is carried out at RAAF Bases at Richmond and Edinburgh
Australian Aerospace is a member of the Australian P3 Accord signed in November of 2005 that will provide Block Upgrade Programs and Through Life Support for the RAAF AP-3C fleet through to its planned withdrawal, currently 2015. The P3 Standard Support Contract signed today will further expand Australian Aerospace involvement and support of the Plat-form and involves a major investment for Australian Aerospace and Eurocopter in local ca-pability and Australian skills. Australian Aerospace has been performing the Deep Mainte-nance of the RAAF AP-3C fleet since 1993.
AP-3C Orion aircraft are critical to Australia's national and international maritime patrol re-connaissance and strike capability and play a significant role in Australian border protection and in operations in the Middle East and other parts of the world.
At present, there are around 140 Australians working on AP-3C Orion maintenance at RAAF Richmond (near Sydney) and RAAF Edinburgh (in Adelaide). This represents an increase of 50 people in the past 2 years and the new contract will result in a further 40 new skilled posi-tions at RAAF Edinburgh and 10 new skilled positions at RAAF Richmond. The Accord and the new Contract has seen considerable growth of the Company activities in South Australia.
The P3 Standard Support Contract establishes management arrangements to integrate and coordinate AP-3C maintenance with around 0 million of upgrades, creating the strong po-tential for further investment in skills and local Defence capability. There is a robust Austra-lian Industry Capability Plan in this contract which further increases Australian Aerospace commitment to work with and develop Australian SME's. Australian Aerospace have skills development programs to ensure continued availability of skills required to support Australian Defence Industry.
Eurocopter has been very active in Australia over the past years. It has become the number four Australian defence contractor (turnover), while Australia has become a major actor of Eurocopter's global supply chain, through local companies. Major achievements for Eurocop-ter in Australia include contracts for 22 Tigers and 46 MRH-90, resulting in the implementa-tion of two assembly lines (Tiger & MRH-90). Eurocopter supports more than 350 helicopters in the Asia Pacific region.