The chairman of high-tech composites manufacturer Quickstep Technologies has spoken of the role of government input in assisting his company, and of the importance of being a part of a global supply chain.
Quickstep is ASX listed and opened a facility in Bankstown last year, which was recently qualified to make composite parts for the F-35 JSF Lightning II program.
In an interview on Thursday morning with the ABC’s AM program, Tony Quick said that government encouragement had been “absolutely critical” to the company growing through being a part of the Joint Strike Fighter program.
“Through the JSF (joint strike fighter) program, we have long term contracts of about $700 million from Northrop Grumman and we would only be involved in that as a result of Australia joining up to the JSF program,” he told AM.
“Where you're actually looking at something that governments are buyers of, it actually makes a lot of difference. And in the early days of JSF, going around the US with somebody in a blue suit saying you need to pay attention to these people and decide whether they can offer you a competitive solution because I want to buy 100 of your aircraft… was a very powerful part of our sales campaign.”
Quick mentioned that that Australia had learned that it was not cost-effective to build a plane from start to finish.
When as asked about what the automotive industry could learn from aviation, Quick offered that, “We're sort of 20 years ahead of the car industry in that it was about 20 years ago we stopped building our own aircraft and so the industry that's left is involved in global supply chains.”