22 Juni 2012

Quickstep Secures Second Long Term Agreement to Supply F-35 Joint Strike Fighter Components

22 Juni 2012

JSF manufacturing (photo : JSF)

Perth – Quickstep Holdings Limited (ASX Ticker: QHL), an Australian-based advanced composites manufacturer, is pleased to  advise that it has secured a second Long Term Agreement (LTA) with Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE:NOC) to manufacture parts for the international F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) program.

The LTA covers production of “Group 2” JSF components until 2020, and follows the LTA signed in February 2011 for Group 1 JSF components, for which manufacturing is now underway. Group 2 parts represent more complex aircraft components, including portions of the main F-35 structure and supports.

The first Purchase Order for Group 2 parts is expected to be received in July 2012.

The  signing of the  LTA follows Quickstep’s  successful  completion of a  qualification process to demonstrate production readiness for the manufacture of Group 2 parts.

Managing Director of Quickstep, Mr Philippe Odouard, said the securing of a second LTA with Northrop Grumman represented a further endorsement of the Company’s aerospace manufacturing capabilities.

“Through our production of Group 1  JSF  parts, Quickstep has confirmed its ability to successfully undertake advanced aerospace manufacturing contracts and feed into Northrop Grumman’s international supply chain for  the  F-35 project,” he said. “This expansion of Quickstep’s contracts to include Group 2 parts will increase the number and variety of components the Company will supply to the JSF program.”

Lockheed Martin’s F-35 programme manager, Mr  Tom Burbage, recently congratulated Quickstep  on its work relating to the JSF program,  saying: “One of our most innovative and critical suppliers, Quickstep Holdings, completed source inspection of their first F-35 production parts at their Perth facility. To date, Quickstep has met – and in many cases outperformed  – all JSF delivery deadlines. We don’t often get to recognize the excellent performance of our global supply chain, but there are many companies worldwide working very hard to make the F-35 successful.  Thanks to all of them and a special well done to Quickstep.”

The Group 2 LTA represents the second in a series of three agreements which will implement the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that was signed in November 2009 with F-35 prime contractor Lockheed Martin (NYSE: LMT) and Northrop Grumman, one of its principal F-35 subcontractors. Under the MOU, Quickstep will supply a number of  different JSF components, including lower side skins, maintenance access panels, fuel tank covers, lower skins and ammunitions doors.

Quickstep expects to secure the third and final LTA to manufacture Group 3 JSF parts later this year.
Philippe Odouard said that Quickstep’s involvement in the JSF program has not been impacted by reported delays to the program.

“We will continue to communicate with Northrop Grumman and Lockheed Martin with regards to future
purchase programs, however at this stage we  do not anticipate any immediate impact on the ramp-up of our operations in Australia,” Mr Odouard said.

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