Quickstep wins US jet fighter deal

Sydney-based aircraft components manufacturer Quickstep has won a deal to deliver carbon fibre components for the F-35 Lighting II Joint Strike Fighter to the US.

SMH reports that the deal is worth $US139 million ($A148.55 million) deal to Quickstep.

The company will manufacture about 700 sets of composite parts for the vertical tails of the fighter jets and deliver them to Marand Precision Engineering’s facility in Victoria over the next 14 years.

From that point, these parts and parts from other suppliers will be used to make vertical tails for BAE Systems in the UK. And eventually the vertical tails will be delivered to Lockheed Martin's facility in Texas.

The F-35 Lighting II Joint Strike Fighters are being designed and built by an aerospace industry team led by Lockheed Martin.

Quickstep managing director Philippe Odouard told The Australian that his company’s success shows that the Australian manufacturing sector has a future.

“With the amount of problems with manufacturing in this country it’s certainly a very good outcome for us,” he said.

“It shows if you are innovative and prepared to invest in new products and technology there is a place for manufacturing in this country.”

He added, “This year we are planning to do $15m to $17m turnover. This contract, when it ramps up to full quantity, will deliver (another) $13m a year, so it is very significant for us.”

According to Lockheed Martion, the F-35 Lightning II is a 5th Generation fighter, which combines advanced stealth with fighter speed and agility, fully fused sensor information, network-enabled operations and advanced sustainment.

The aircraft has been purchased by the US, Australia and nine other countries.

Image:Lockheed Martin