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Australian advanced materials company Quickstep Holdings Limited advised on the 21st of July 2011 that it has received its first Purchase Order to manufacture parts for the international F-35 Lightning II, Joint Strike Fighter military aircraft, marking the first contract in what is expected to be a 20 year plus manufacturing program.
The Purchase Order covers production of Group 1 components for the F-35 over the next 12 months, as scheduled under the Long Term Agreement (LTA) Quickstep signed with principal F-35 subcontractor Northrop Grumman, in February 2011. The value and scope of the manufacturing contract will remain confidential.
The contract was awarded after Quickstep successfully passed its Tollgate review set by Northrop Grumman, which required Quickstep to successfully demonstrate production readiness for F-35 Group 1 part manufacturing. This included the completion of all qualification requirements and the manufacture of a demonstration part using Quickstep operated facilities, tools, systems, staff and business processes.
Managing Director of Quickstep, Mr Philippe Odouard, said the receipt of the first Purchase Order was a landmark occasion for the Company, and represented an outstanding effort by the Quickstep team in successfully passing QPL .
“This order for the F-35 components represents Quickstep’s first aerospace global supply chain manufacturing contract – a huge achievement for the Company following a long and arduous qualification process,” Mr Odouard said. “Quickstep’s LTA to manufacture Group 1 parts contemplates a 20 year production timeline, representing a long term income stream for the Company.”
“It is of particular importance as this milestone was reached a few days ahead of the schedule set in October 2009. This was made possible by the excellent level of cooperation between Northrop Grumman and Quickstep and the focused and hard work of the Quickstep team.” he said.
Under the framework established in the LTA, Quickstep is set to deliver the first F-35 Lightning II parts in 2012. The Company will supply a variety of F-35 components, including a large number of composite doors and panels.
In parallel with Group 1 part manufacturing, which is expected to commence shortly, Quickstep is also undertaking the qualification process to enable the Company to manufacture Group 2 and Group 3 F-35 components.
Philippe Odouard said participation in the F-35 manufacturing program would transform the Company.
“This is the first step in what is expected to be a major long term manufacturing opportunity for Quickstep,” he said. “We have successfully passed all hurdles to manufacture Group 1 parts, and are now ready to receive annual Purchase Orders for Group 1 parts over the life of the JSF program. We are now working to secure LTA’s for Group 2 and Group 3 parts, to fulfil the 2009 MoU objectives, with work in relation to achieving this goal proceeding well.”
More information: www.quickstep.com.au