As the retirement of the RAAF’s Lockheed AP-3C Orion in 2023 looms, RUAG Australia is marking its contribution to the aircraft’s 21 years of long service life and reliable performance.
Over the past 17 years, the RUAG Australia team has delivered MRO capabilities as the aircraft continues to be required throughout the Asia-Pacific region. The expertise gained with supporting the AP-3C over its service life cycle has positioned the company to support other ageing platforms that may be in need of ongoing upgrades, maintenance and repairs.
Since 2002, RUAG Australia's MRO facilities in Bayswater, Airport West, and Amberley have been an integral part in supporting the platform. Wheels, brakes and landing gear components have been maintained at Bayswater; the Environmental Control System, Engine Driven Compressor, Air Turbine Starter, and electrical components have been maintained at Airport West; and fuel pump and hydraulic components at Amberley. RUAG Australia also supported AP-3C maintenance at a repair site in Richmond, NSW, before relocating its capabilities to Bayswater in 2015.
Overall, the need for repairs has begun to ramp up as the system approaches the end of its service life. Over the last four years, the team at RUAG Australia has applied 286 repairs at Bayswater, 242 repairs at Amberley, and 270 repairs at Airport West.
The teams at the various sites have also been able to create solutions to issues that would otherwise have reduced fleet availability and increased costs. The Advanced Technology & engineering services team has contributed to several deviations and design certificates in support of the AP-3C Orion. This work has provided significant cost reductions, as well as a crucial reduction in lead times, by devising technology focused on component recovery rather than new part procurement.
The processing team has provided machining, NDT, plating, and painting services to support component repairs, and the manufacturing team has manufactured 41 parts for specific repairs as well as oversize bushes required for the repair of main and nose landing gears.
“We now look ahead in providing MRO support to the next generation of Defence aircraft in the same professional way,” Terry Miles, General Manager RUAG Australia, said.