Quickstep signs long-term agreement to supply JSF parts

Quickstep will deliver 18 parts in each ship set to Marand Precision Engineering for the JSF's tail assembly.

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Quickstep Holdings Limited (Sydney, Australia) announced April 10 that it has signed a long-term agreement (LTA) with Marand Precision Engineering Pty Ltd. (Morrabbin, Australia). Under the LTA, Quickstep will supply about 700 sets of carbon fiber composite parts for the F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) aircraft vertical tails to Marand over a period of 14 years. The estimated value of the LTA to Quickstep is $139 million (USD).

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, says “We are delighted to sign this longterm agreement, which locks in the previous memorandum of understanding with Marand for the Joint Strike Fighter program. This is an important step forward for Australian manufacturing, which demonstrates the value of our capabilities for global aerospace and defense contracts, and our capacity to meet the complex schedules of international supply chains.”

At peak production rates, the new LTA is expected to provide $13 million sales revenue for Quickstep. The LTA provides for annual purchase orders initially, with longer-term purchase orders to be confirmed as the program matures. The LTA follows Quickstep’s memorandum of understanding with Marand, signed 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 fiber 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 (USD) 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.