Work at Boeing's new Phantom Works research division in Australia is to focus initially on composite resin infusion light robotics for manufacturing and precision coatings ageing aircraft maintenance applications of advanced unmanned air vehicles network centric operations and aerospace environmental applications.

Phantom Works Australia, according to Boeing, will be the focus for the manufacturer's research and development in the country and collaboration with local organisations including universities, the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) and the Defence Science and Technology Organisation.

CSIRO expects to maintain, through Phantom Works Australia, its 18-year old R&D partnership with Boeing. The two have worked together on advanced materials and structures, information and communication technologies and intelligent vehicle health monitoring.

"Through our partnership, CSIRO has played a significant role in demonstrating Australia's research capability," says chief executive Geoff Garrett.

Phantom Works Australia is only the second such operation established outside the USA by Boeing, the other being its Madrid, Spain-based Phantom Works research and technology centre.

Phantom Works Australia is based in Melbourne and Brisbane and will initially employ 30 senior engineers, scientists and researchers.

It will also act as a bridge between Boeing and new research hubs in Australia such as the Australian Research Centre for Aerospace Automation, which is involved in research on unmanned aerial vehicles with particular focus on the development of UAVs for civilian applications.