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Alabama firm strikes partnership on trade mission

MELBOURNE, Australia — Alabama-based Cummings Aerospace announced today that it plans to team with an Australian company to develop defense technology solutions that would be produced and distributed in Australia.

Cummings Aerospace, headquartered in Huntsville, is among six state firms participating this week in a trade mission organized by the Alabama Department of Commerce to Avalon 2023, the Indo-Pacific’s largest aerospace/defense exposition.

Cummings Aerospace and Criterion Solutions, based in Canberra, announced they have initiated a trade agreement to enable cooperative planning for the development of technology that could be produced and marketed in Australia.

“The opportunity to visit face-to-face in Melbourne is a critical step in developing our partnership,” said Sheila Cummings, president and CEO of Cummings Aerospace. “We’re really looking forward to a productive partnership with Criterion.

“This is a win-win for both companies, and for Australia’s national security,” she added.

Criterion Solutions offers intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance, and systems integration expertise for the national security industry. Cummings Aerospace, a Native American woman-owned small business, is an aerospace engineering firm specializing in defense system design and analysis that uses model-based systems engineering.

“My company’s intimate knowledge of the Australian defense technology industry and some of Cummings Aerospace’s system design capabilities are a perfect match for meeting needs in the Australian market,” Criterion Solutions director Michael Sinkowitsch said.


Cummings Aerospace and the other Alabama companies are attending the biennial Australian International Airshow Aerospace and Defence Exhibition, held at the Avalon Airport in Geelong, near Melbourne. Read about the trade mission.

Christina Stimpson, director of Commerce’s Office of International Trade, said the expo is giving the Alabama companies a chance to engage with potential partners in Australia’s growing aerospace/defense sector and to display their products and services.

“The partnership that has developed between Cummings Aerospace and Criterion Solutions validates the work we do in promoting international opportunities and leading Alabama delegations on trade missions around the world,” Stimpson said.

Lucia Cape, senior vice president of economic development for the Huntsville/Madison Chamber, said the North Alabama city’s robust roster of aerospace and defense companies is perfectly positioned for collaborations.

“Australia offers great opportunities for partnerships with Huntsville’s aerospace and defense companies, and Huntsville is a great choice for those Australian companies that want a U.S. location,” Cape said. “In the past five years we have had two Australian companies open high-tech facilities in Huntsville, and we have several more projects in the works.

“The partnership between Cummings Aerospace and Criterion Solutions is an example of successful international collaboration for our countries,” she added.

Bob Smith, an assistant director in Commerce’s Business Development Division attending Avalon2023, said a strategic expansion of Australia’s aerospace/defense sector presents solid opportunities for Alabama firms.

“In 2018, Australia released the ‘Defense Industrial Capability Act,’ outlining precisely how they would build a broader industrial base for their defense sector over the next decade,” he said. “They are growing both their space efforts and the defense sector, and the country has allocated billions of dollars toward those objectives.”

(Courtesy of Made in Alabama)

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