Government Aircraft Factories / Aerospace Technologies of Australia

On 1 July 1939, the Department of Aircraft Production (DAP) , a branch of the Australian Federal Government, came into being under the control of the newly created Department of Supply and Development. It was established to manufacture medium range bombers for the Royal Australian Air Force. DAP's first order was placed for 180 Beaufort bombers:

  • 90 for the Royal Air Force; and
  • 90 for the Royal Australian Air Force.

Deliveries began in 1940 and reached a rate of 20 per month by mid 1941. Final assembly plants were built at Fishermans Bend in Victoria and Mascot in New South Wales.

In 1946, the DAP was renamed the Government Aircraft Factories (GAF).

At its peak during WW II, the organisation employed 10,000 men and women and 600 subcontractors, themselves employing many more.

Military aircraft assembled by GAF included the Beaufort, Beaufighter, Avro Lincoln, Canberra Bomber, Mirage and the F/A-18 Hornet. A number of indigenous products were also designed and manufactured, including the Jindivik, Malkara, Ikara, Nomad, Turana and Nulka.

In 1985, the Government Aircraft Factories was renamed Aerospace Technologies of Australia Limited (ASTA). In the following 10 years, ASTA continued to grow and acquire new businesses. By 1995, ASTA had rationalised it business into two core business units: ASTA Defence (trading as Aircraft Systems Division) located at Avalon, and ASTA Components located at Fishermans Bend.

ASTA Aircraft Systems Division (now part of Boeing's Aerospace Support Division) was engaged in the business of military aircraft upgrades and modifications.

ASTA Components (now Hawker de Havilland - est. 2000), manufactured components for Aerospatiale of the Airbus Industrie Group and Boeing Commercial Airplanes and Boeing's information, Space and Defence Systems Group (incorporating the former McDonnell Douglas). It currently specialises in:

  • Aircraft & system design
  • Composite & metal alloy fabrication
  • Structural repairs
  • Vibration & environment testing

In 1995, ASTA was fully privatised. Rockwell Systems Australia Pty Ltd purchased Aerospace Technologies of Australia's 100 percent Government-owned shares and ASTA Components & ASTA Aircraft Systems Division were incorporated into the Rockwell Group of Companies. At this time, ASTA shareholding in ASTA Aircraft Services, ASTA Airport and Pacific Aerospace Corporation (PAC) were transferred to Avalon Airport Geelong Pty Ltd (AAG), bringing to a close the ASTA shareholding in these organisations. In that same year, Rockwell Systems Australia changed its name to Rockwell Australia Limited.

In December 1996, The Boeing Company acquired Rockwell's aerospace and defence business, including most of its Australian operations, thus forming the wholly-owned subsidiary, Boeing Australia Limited. In 1998, Boeing Australia Limited moved its headquarters from Sydney, New South Wales to Brisbane, Queensland.

The Fishermans Bend facility continued to operate under the trading name ASTA Components until November 2000. At that time, Boeing acquired Hawker de Havilland and merged ASTA Components with Hawker de Havilland (which also held facilities at Fishermans Bend). By 2003, Hawker de Havilland ownership had transferred to Boeing Australia Holdings (the holding company for Boeing's Australian interests; Boeing Australia Limited, Preston Aviation Solutions, Jeppesen Australia and Alteon Training Australia).

 

Last Revised: February 14, 2006

 
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