[Avionics Today 06-16-2015] Boeing is continuing to expand its presence in Korea with the recent opening a new avionics maintenance and repair center. Last year the company spent more than $460 million creating new high tech jobs to support both the commercial aerospace research industry as well as the Republic of Korea Air Force (ROKAF). The new facility will also allow Boeing to greatly reduce its repair and turnaround time for ROKAF and avionics testing capabilities.
Boeing's new BAMRO facility. Photo: Boeing.
The biggest benefit the new facility will offer is in the turnaround time for Boeing's support of F-15K fighter jet components, James O'Loughlin, vice president of Boeing's Global Services & Support (GS&S) Korea Sustainment Programs, told Avionics Magazine.
"A selected group of F-15K electronic components which were formerly only repaired in the U.S. will now be repaired at the Boeing Avionics Maintenance, Repair & Overhaul (BAMRO) facility," said O'Loughlin. "The total turnaround time to ship, diagnose, repair and return these parts from the U.S. to Korea could take up to six months. With this capability now in the BAMRO in Korea, we believe we can turn around these repairs in as little as two weeks or less."
The opening of the facility goes beyond support for ROKAF as well. O'Loughlin indicates that Boeing is excited about joint business opportunities with indigenous Korean companies. Specifically, he said the new facility will support the Yeongcheon Industry District of Daegu-Gyeongbuk Free Economic Zone's "Aero Techno Valley" vision of becoming a local high-tech aerospace industry corridor.
Currently, there about 25 Korean companies producing products and services for Boeing production and sustainment programs, research and development activities, and other internal services supporting Boeing's operations in the region. BAMRO is the seventh aerospace support facility opened by Boeing in Korea.
"Some of the representative examples include Korean Air Aerospace Division (KAL-ASD) and Korea Aerospace Industries (KAI). KAL supplies composite structures and components on Boeing’s newest commercial airplane programs, including the 787 Dreamliner and the 747-8. They will also be supporting the 737 MAX," said O'Loughlin. "KAL has also provided support services to some of Boeing’s military aircraft programs. KAI manufactures AH-64 Apache fuselages and F-15 forward fuselages and wings and is a key supplier on the P-8 program and A-10 wing replacement program. KAI also works with Boeing to provide 777 nacelle fittings, 737 empennages, and 737-based P-8 empennages and raked wingtips as well as the pivot bulkhead for the 787 Dreamliner."
Boeing's expanded presence in Korea was further solidified on the second day of the 2015 Paris Air Show, as Korean Air signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) potentially valued at $3.9 billion to acquire 30 737 MAXs, two 777-300ERs and options for an additional 20 737 MAXs.
One of the key technologies that will be moved to the new facility that was previously only available to Boeing's Korean division is the Boeing Multi-Platform Avionics Test System (BMATS), which was unveiled at last year's annual Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers AutoTest tradeshow. BMATS replaces legacy test equipment that was previously designed to support a single platform or a limited group of platforms. As the airframe manufacturer continues to look to test and evaluate technology produced by local Korean companies, O’Loughlin believes the benefits of BMATS will be readily observed.
"The key support equipment test technology at BAMRO is the Boeing Multi-Platform Avionics Test System (BMATS). This test system contains world-class technology with smart diagnosis capability that can perform avionics testing on multiple aircraft platforms including commercial avionics systems," said O'Loughlin. “Boeing works closely with Korean industry to evaluate potential collaboration efforts of joint interest. We are committed to Korea for the long-term and are excited about the prospects for joint business opportunities with indigenous Korean companies."