Advanced Composite Structures Australia – A brief overview of its 30 year history

It was in 1990 that the seeds were sewn for what is now Advanced Composite Structures Australia (ACS-A). This was when the then Chief Scientist of Australia – Ralph Slatyer, AC, proposed to the Commonwealth Government that Australia needed a Cooperative Research Centre (CRC) program to better facilitate industry-focussed research and innovation.

The leaders in the aerospace structures design and manufacturing industry and their research and development partners in universities and government quickly came together and formulated a successful proposal for the CRC for Aerospace Structures (CRC-AS) – one of the first 15 formally established in 1991.

It was in early 1992 that work started in earnest under the leadership of Gordon Long as Technical Director from the then Aeronautical Research Laboratories (ARL), now the Defence Science and Technology Group (DSTG). Key directors on the new board came from Hawker de Havilland (HdH) and AeroSpace Technologies of Australia (ASTA), both now Boeing Aerostructures Australia (BAA).

CRC-AS expanded in 1997 and focussed on advanced composite materials and became the CRC for Advanced Composite Structures (CRC-ACS), with the leadership passing to Ian Mair as CEO and new members joining, including Australian Defence Industries (ADI), now Thales Australia.

Advanced Composite Structures Team (CRC-ACS) Group Photo (c. 1997) on the Australian Defence Science and Technology front lawns in Fishermans Bend, Melbourne, Australia

In 2003, Murray Scott took over as CEO and led the well-established CRC-ACS team into its third term, and subsequent expansion in 2007 to include helicopter structures and then the final fourth term from 2010 to 2015, when Airbus in Australia and Europe, and also Petronas in Malaysia, became members.

It was in 2008 that the rapidly growing commercial activities were formalised by the establishment of Advanced Composite Structures Australia Pty Ltd – a wholly-owned subsidiary of CRC-ACS, with Murray Scott as Managing Director. This entity was restructured in 2010, with Tony Carolan as Chairman, to position it as the successor to CRC-ACS when it concluded its mission after 24 years. As part of this process, the ownership was passed in 2014 to the then directors and employees of ACS-A who were charged with leading the company into a fully commercial future.

We are now celebrating three decades of incredible achievement in advanced composites research and translation of new technologies and capabilities to innovative industry partners. At the core of the team still engaging in cutting-edge research and practical implementation in products and services, are some of the key people who kicked it all off 30 years ago!

Below is a short video showing only a few of the many team members over the past 30 years:


3️⃣0️⃣ years on since Advanced Composite Structures Australia | ACS-A began its journey with the mission to advance composites technology and deliver world-leading engineering design and manufacturing, which has seen impressive contributions from hundreds of people and continues on today!

Take a trip down the memory lane on p.24 of the latest AMT Magazine detailing the beginnings and future horizon.

Full AMTIL magazine FEB/MAR 2023 edition:

To learn more or to get in touch with the team please contact us!

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