Quickstep (North Coogee, Australia), a manufacturer of advanced carbon fiber composites for the aerospace and automotive industries, on June 22 announced the opening of its new manufacturing facility at Sydney’s Bankstown Airport. The facility will supply components to aerospace firms Northrop Grumman Corp. and Lockheed Martin.
The ability to manufacture high-technology composites has enabled Quickstep to win major aerospace contracts in internationally competitive tenders. Quickstep has already commenced production on the first phase of commercial production of F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter parts. This work is expected to generate up to $700 million over 20 years. In March 2012, Quickstep was selected by Lockheed Martin to supply composite wing flaps for the C-130J Hercules military transport aircraft, valued at $75 million to $100 million to Quickstep over five years. Further substantial opportunities are under discussion now that its Bankstown facilities are coming on line.
Opened by New South Wales (NSW) Premier Barry O’Farrell and Gary Ervin, president of Northrop Grumman’s Aerospace Systems Division, the facility houses high-tech equipment to manufacture carbon fiber components. “We congratulate Quickstep on this new facility,” says O’Farrell. “This is one of the world’s most advanced carbon fiber component manufacturing plants and a great example of high technology bringing international work to NSW. With this facility, Quickstep will be the largest independent aerospace composites manufacturer in Australia.”
“Northrop Grumman is honoured to be part of this opening ceremony,” says Ervin. “This new facility is just one example of the investments Quickstep has made in the last two years in preparation for executing F-35 work. It’s a testament to the strong partnership Northrop Grumman has with Quickstep in producing the F-35 centre fuselage, as well as the governments of Australia and New South Wales in establishing this critical composite manufacturing capability in Australia.”
Philippe Odouard, managing director of Quickstep, says, “This facility represents a quantum leap in Australian advanced composites manufacturing, strengthening our ability to deliver product and technologies to global industries that increasingly source competitively around the world. We are grateful to the NSW government that substantially participated in the funding of this development.”
The Bankstown facility comprises a 4,000m2/43,055-ft2 hangar with $15 million of manufacturing equipment and infrastructure, along with a 1250m2/13,455-ft2 office, which now becomes Quickstep’s headquarters. Quickstep has substantial additional capacity for further expansion.