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Alabama trade mission targets opportunities at Australia’s Avalon air show

MELBOURNE, Australia — An Alabama delegation including six aerospace-focused companies are seeking to make business connections on a trade mission this week to Avalon 2023, the largest aviation, aerospace and defense exposition staged in the Southern hemisphere.

The Alabama Department of Commerce is leading the business development mission to the Australian International Airshow Aerospace and Defence Exhibition, held at the Avalon Airport in Geelong, near Melbourne.

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

“Face-to-face interactions are critical to the success of global business, and we are thrilled to be leading a delegation to the Avalon Air Show,” Stimpson said. “We’ve partnered with the U.S. Commercial Service and the State of Victoria in Australia to provide one-on-one business meetings, as well as exhibitor space in the ‘Made in Alabama’ booth.

“The week will be filled with networking opportunities allowing our Alabama companies to showcase their innovative capabilities and technologies,” she added.

Bob Smith, an assistant director in Commerce’s Business Development Division and the department’s point man on aerospace, said the timing of the mission is ideal. Australia is now assembling a military Space division amid a strategic long-term build-up of the company’s aerospace/defense industrial base, he said.

“Australia’s defense contractors, while very innovative, are relatively small. They need partners for the technology and products they are developing, and the Alabama space and defense sector is in a good position to provide those partnerships,” Smith said.

“I’m at Avalon to help showcase our Alabama space and defense sector and to support the Office of International Trade in its efforts at the show,” he added.


The companies participating in the trade mission as part of the Alabama delegation represent a wide range of the capabilities present within the state’s robust aerospace/defense sector. They are:

  • Ace Aeronautics, a Guntersville-based firm develops cockpit upgrades for transport aircraft
  • Acquisition Integration, a Huntsville contract manufacturer that offers a wide range of expertise and capabilities to improve the operational and business performance of customers
  • Cummings Aerospace, a Huntsville defense and aerospace systems engineering firm that specializes in model-based engineering, modeling and simulation, and other technologies.
  • Hartzell Engine Tech, a Montgomery firm that offers a portfolio of brands to provide engine accessories and heating solutions for the general aviation industry
  • PTS Expeditionary Communications, a Huntsville company that offers specialized products that offer expeditionary communication solutions
  • ReLogic Research Inc, a Huntsville enterprise that provides applied research, production development and fabrication services

The Alabama small businesses participating in the Avalon trade mission are utilizing a federal grant from the U.S. Small Business Administration to offset their expenses. Learn more about the Alabama State Trade Expansion Program (STEP) Grant.

While in Australia, the group will participate in a business matchmaking event sponsored by the Victoria State Government, an industry reception organized by KPMG and other networking events and receptions.


Organizers say this year’s Avalon air show will set new records after the biennial event had to be canceled in 2021 because of COVID.

Nearly 800 exhibitor companies signed up this year, a 14% increase over 2019, while over 230 industry, government, defense and scientific delegations are attending, 50% more the previous installment, according to a report in the Virginia-based National Defense magazine.

In the U.S. Partnership Pavilion, there are 86 exhibiting companies, along with nine states, the publication said, citing a fact sheet supplied by Kallman Worldwide Inc., which organizes the pavilion.

(Courtesy of Made in Alabama)

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