A vital link in upholding Australia's aircraft defence capabilities, Qantas Defence Services (QDS) delivers comprehensive support to the Australian Defence Force and other air forces in Asia-Pacific. Established as a Qantas Airways subsidiary in 1999, QDS is backed by the airline's extensive resources and has grown into one of the country's largest defence services companies.
"QDS has the unique skills set to provide maintenance, repair, overhaul (MRO) and line operations as subcontracted by various defence aircraft owners," says Scott Harris, head of QDS. "Such a model is being increasingly adopted in Asia-Pacific, where we are seeking a bigger presence."
The company is equipped to service the Lockheed C-130H Hercules and P-3 Orion, Boeing B737-700IGW and Bombardier Challenger CL604 Special Purpose Aircraft, Sikorsky S-70A-9 Black Hawk, BAE Hawk 127 and Airbus KC-30A Multi Role Tanker Transport (MRTT).
Services cover scheduled and unscheduled MRO and all levels of integrated logistics support. These include engineering, maintenance, modification, repair, in-service monitoring, planning, purchasing, training and supply - from components to avionics, engines and entire aircraft fleets. These are managed under QDS' C-130H Weapons Systems, Special Purpose Aircraft, KC-30A TLS and Propulsion Systems business units.
The company also has a dedicated business development team that focuses on the Asia-Pacific, whose top priority is expanding existing business relationships and using the QDS Integrated Sustainment Organisation (ISO) in the region. "ISO is the backbone of the business, providing shared service activities that support the long-term sustainment of QDS platforms locally and globally," says Bob Paden, ISO national manager. "It delivers intelligent sustainment value for each QDS client by improving supportability of platforms, promoting customer process improvement, demonstrating agility and reducing overhead and cost of services."
QDS is looking to apply the ISO structure to more platforms and provide the same backbone to other organisations. "Our vision is to leverage and strengthen our relationships in Asia and roll out the ISO package of services to regional air forces integrated with local industry," Paden says.
QDS maintains close relationships with main Asia-Pacific industry players such as Hong Kong Aircraft Engineering and Singapore's ST Aviation Services. It is active in New Zealand, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea and Singapore, and is seeking to work with local air forces in other key locations, including Thailand, Vietnam and the mainland.
"We welcome air forces in Asia that are trying to run new and sustainable platforms," Harris says. "We can raise their efficiency and let them gain the most out of their platform - meaning flying more hours with better training, accuracy and fuel economy."