Quickstep, a leading manufacturer of advanced carbon fibre composite components, has announced that it will receive funding to produce housings for an F-35 Lightning II countermeasure flare.
Funding via Chemring Australia from the F-35 Lightning II Joint Program Office, through a multi‐million dollar U.S. Government contract, will support engineering and production tooling for the production improvement project.
Additionally, a New Air Combat Capability – Industry Support Program (NACC‐ISP) grant of $1 million will complement investment being made by Quickstep.
Mark Burgess, CEO and managing director of Quickstep, said: “This exciting new project will involve Quickstep applying advanced tooling and process engineering skills to establish world‐class advanced manufacturing capabilities for production of F‐35 countermeasure flare housings.”
Quickstep will commission additional advanced manufacturing processes and technologies at its facility in Bankstown, New South Wales, extending its capability to support the F‐35 Program and other defence and aerospace projects.
The F‐35 Lightning II Program is the world’s largest military aerospace program. More than 50 Australian companies have directly shared in more than $1 billion in global F-35 production contracts to date, and small and unique Australian businesses have the opportunity to benefit indirectly through supply chain work.
Congratulating Chemring Australia and Quickstep on securing funding for product development and cost reduction initiatives for F-35 Lightning II countermeasure flares, Minister for Defence Industry, the Hon Christopher Pyne said Australian industry involvement in F-35 production is expected to exceed $2 billion by 2023.
“The US Government has invested in Chemring and Quickstep to revolutionise the processing of flares and reduce cost,” Minister Pyne said.
The Australian Government has approved the acquisition of 72 JSF to replace the ageing F/A-18A/B Hornet.
Minister Payne said the Royal Australian Air Force had six F-35A aircraft operating in the United States at the international Pilot Training Centre at Luke Air Force Base in Arizona, with delivery of four more aircraft planned before the end of the year.
“The first two F-35 to be permanently based in Australia are scheduled to arrive at RAAF Base Williamtown, near Newcastle in New South Wales, in December 2018,” Minister Payne said.
Quickstep is already a key supplier into the global F-35 Program, supplying 40 per cent of the materiel to Marand Precision Engineering to produce each F-35 Conventional Take-Off and Landing Vertical Tail. Marand recently delivered its 50th Vertical Tail to the F-35 Program.