BANKSTOWN, Australia, May 13 (UPI) -- Northrop Grumman praised its Australian supplier of advanced composite parts for Northrop's center fuselage for F-35 Lightning II joint strike fighters.
Less than a year after opening a new facility for production of the composite components, Quickstep Technologies Pty. Ltd. has completed the first bismaleimide and graphite epoxy production parts, "demonstrating that its facility is equipped and qualified to execute all of the required processes for its work on the F-35 program," it said.
Northrop Grumman's F-35 chief engineer also fully approved Quickstep Technologies' bismaleimide and graphite epoxy destruct test articles.
"We are impressed by Quickstep's ability to reach these milestones less than a year after it opened its Bankstown facility," said Michelle Scarpella, vice president of the F-35 program for Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems.
"Northrop Grumman helped celebrate the opening of Quickstep's production facility, and now Quickstep is successfully demonstrating its ability to manufacture and deliver parts that will benefit the F-35 program.
"This progress is a testament to the strong industrial partnership Northrop Grumman has with Quickstep in producing the F-35 center fuselage and with the governments of Australia and New South Wales in establishing this critical composite manufacturing capability in Australia."
Australia joined the F-35 program in 2002 and has contributed to the program's design and development phases. The first two F-35 center fuselages for the Australian air force F-35s are being manufactured at Northrop Grumman's Palmdale, Calif., facility.
Northrop Grumman produces the center fuselage and the aircraft's radar and other key avionics systems for the Lockheed Martin aircraft.