Australia chooses TAE Aerospace for F414 engine test system upgrade

Royal Australian Air Force Growlers from No.6 Squadron prepare for a mission during Exercise Pitch Black 2018.

The Australian Department of Defence (DoD) announced on 25 August that it has selected TAE Aerospace to upgrade the test system for the General Electric F414 turbofan engines that power the Boeing F/A-18F Super Hornet and EA-18G Growler aircraft used by the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF).

According to the DoD, TAE Aerospace will replace control and data acquisition system (CDAS) software and hardware that is reaching the end of its supportable life. The DoD noted that the company will complete the upgrade project by mid-2025.

“TAE is extremely proud and excited to be engaged by Defence to deliver this test system upgrade project over the next two years, and in doing so will assure the future of the F414 engine testing capability in Australia,” said TAE Aerospace CEO Andrew Sanderson.

The DoD added that the company will upgrade the CDAS in both the primary F414 engine test cell at RAAF Base Amberley and the back-up test cell at RAAF Base Williamtown, to achieve redundancy in F414 engine test capability in Australia.

“TAE’s comprehensive system upgrades will now ensure that these critical engine test facilities remain reliable and sustainable to support our air combat capabilities well into the next decade,” said Val Lawson, Director of Enabling Services for the Air Combat and Electronic Attack Systems Program Office.

Earlier in 2021, TAE Aerospace completed a major modification to the RAAF Amberley engine test facility, which has enabled Pratt & Whitney F135 engines for the global F-35 Joint Strike Fighter programme to also be tested in Australia.

The EA-18G Growler and F/A-18F Super Hornet aircraft are critical to RAAF’s air combat fleet, the DoD earlier noted.

The EA-18G Growler is an electronic attack aircraft capable of disrupting, deceiving and denying a broad range of military electronic systems, including radar and communication systems. Meanwhile, the F/A-18F Super Hornet has been in-service with the RAAF for more than a decade and is a key air combat capability.

by Jr Ng