Quickstep to supply composite vertical tailskins for F-35 Lightning II

This MOU, with Marand Precision Engineering, is Quickstep's second MOU to produce composite parts for the F-35 and could result in a $50 million long-term production agreement.

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Quickstep Holdings Ltd. (North Coogee, Australia) announced on Nov. 16 that it has signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) that could lead to a contract worth up to $50 million to supply composite vertical tail skins for the new multination F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter (JSF).

The MOU is with Marand Precision Engineering (Melbourne, Australia), which has in turn signed an MOU with BAE Systems and Lockheed Martin Corp., the global aerospace group coordinating the JSF program.

The Marand MOU is the second major F-35 MOU signed by Quickstep this month. On Nov. 4, Quickstep announced it had signed an MOU with Lockheed and fellow global aerospace company Northrop Grumman Systems Corp., which is intended to secure around $700 million worth of contracts to manufacture doors and panels for the JSF.

The JSF is an advanced composite 5th-generation fighter, which represents a quantum leap in technology and capability. The Australian Federal Government is planning to acquire up to 100 of the aircraft. The Marand MOU involves Quickstep manufacturing vertical tail skins using advanced composites. These skins would be supplied to the non-U.S. partners in the JSF program, including in Australia, the U.K. and Canada. This is currently expected to account for more than 700 pairs of Vertical Tails.

The earlier MOU signed between Quickstep, Lockheed and Northrop Grumman paves the way for the parties to work together to finalize the long-term agreement for 19,325 composite doors and access panels. These parts will all be exported to the United States for incorporation into the JSF globally. Quickstep hopes to finalize both long-term agreements by the end of March 2010.