18 Agustus 2017

Quickstep to Withdraw from Hawkei Programme

18 Agustus 2017

The Thales Australia Hawkei protected mobility vehicle. (photo : Thales)

Australian composite specialist Quickstep Holdings is planning to withdraw from the Thales Australia programme to build Hawkei 4x4 light protected mobility vehicles for the Australian Defence Force (ADF), it has been confirmed to Jane's .

The withdrawal is expected at the end of 2017 and follows Quickstep's announced intention to restructure its production activities, placing greater emphasis on the company's core carbon-fibre technologies. The restructure is intended to position Quickstep for "growth and profitability", according to the company.

Quickstep's subcontractor involvement in the Hawkei programme is based on an agreement signed with Thales Australia in October 2014 through which the company, which is based in New South Wales, has been manufacturing glass-fibre composites for the vehicle including its bonnet, side skirts, and mud guards.

A representative of Quickstep said in a statement, "Quickstep has undertaken a comprehensive review of all aspects of the Quickstep business, which was completed in July 2017.

"Quickstep confirms that subject to appropriate programme timing, the company will cease non-core programmes that do not fit with our future growth plans. This includes the Thales Hawkei project, which uses glass-fibre technology [that] is not aligned to Quickstep's business. We will complete current orders and plan to fill remaining orders through 2017."

A Thales Australia spokesman said the company is working with Tasmanian firm Penguin Composites to provide bonnets and other composite assemblies for the Hawkei, adding that "it is not expected that this will affect the delivery of the project".

Under a AUD1.3-billion (USD910 million) contract awarded in 2015, Thales Australia is leading the programme to build more than 1,000 Hawkei vehicles in collaboration with a wide range of Australian firms. Thales has segmented this supply work into around 30 major packages, including those related to heating, ventilation, and cooling systems; bonnet assembly; pneumatic and hydraulic systems; plastic components; and engine casings.


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