Quickstep Holdings Limited, a manufacturer of high-grade carbon-fibre components, has signed an agreement with a global engineering firm to supply composite parts for the F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter jet program.
The estimated value of the long-term agreement with Marand Precision Engineering Pty Ltd, is US$139 (AUD$148).
Under the agreement Quickstep will supply about 700 sets of carbon fibre composite parts for aircraft vertical tails over a period of 14 years.
Each ship set of vertical tails provided by Quickstep will contain 18 individual parts, including skins, spars and fairings.
These and parts from other suppliers, will be assembled by Marand into vertical tails for their customer BAE Systems in the UK, with delivery to Lockheed Martin’s facility in Fort Worth, Texas, where they will be incorporated with other components for the F-35A variant of the JSF.
Quickstep expects to deliver the first parts to Marand’s facility in Victoria, Australia in the second half of 2015.
Quickstep managing director, Philippe Odouard, said: “This is an important step forward for Australian manufacturing, which demonstrates the value of our capabilities for global aerospace and defence contracts, and our capacity to meet the complex schedules of international supply chains.”
At peak production rates, the new agreement is expected to provide $13 million a year in sales revenue for Quickstep.
The agreement provides for annual purchase orders initially, with longer-term purchase orders to be confirmed as the program matures.
Quickstep signed a memorandum of understanding with Marand in November 2009.
Initial work to extend Quickstep’s existing Lockheed Martin process qualification has begun. The company anticipates only minor additional investment in new equipment.
Quickstep is supplying carbon fibre composite skins and subassemblies for the F-35 program, and the overall agreement to manufacture JSF parts for several different original equipment manufacturers is valued at up to $700 million to the company over two decades.
The F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter is a fifth generation aircraft, combining advanced stealth with fighter speed and advanced networking capability. F-35 aircraft have been purchased by the US Air Force, US Navy and US Marine Corps, and at least 10 other countries, including Australia.
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