Quickstep moves on Hercules order

CANBERRA, Australia, Oct. 11 (UPI) -- Australian composite manufacturer Quickstep said it firmed up its order with Lockheed Martin for 24 sets of carbon-fiber wing flaps for the C-130J Hercules transport aircraft.

Quickstep Technologies will make the parts at its new facility in Bankstown Airport in Bankstown, a suburb of Sydney in New South Wales. Deliveries are to start by December 2013 at a rate of about two sets per month, a report by Australian Defense magazine said.


The order is in addition to the initial order from Lockheed Martin for preliminary work on wing flaps announced in August.

The preliminary work is expected to be completed before the first delivery of parts, the report by Australian Defense said.

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Each set of wing flaps has four parts with an aluminum structure and skins of carbon fiber.

The wing flap order -- Quickstep's largest aerospace deal -- is part of an overall agreement with Lockheed Martin expected to generate revenues of up to $100 million over five years, Australian Defense said.

The deal comes after Quickstep officially opened its Bankstown plant in June and moved its head office there, away from North Coogee, just outside Perth on Australia's remote western coast.

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The Bankstown Airport site was used by Lockheed Martin's competitor Boeing Aerostructures Australia before it consolidated its manufacturing facilities at Fishermans Bend within Melbourne's port.

The factory will produce composites for the aerospace and automotive industries, including Lockheed Martin's F-35 Lightning II fighter aircraft.

Other Quickstep customers also include car manufacturer Audi, Airbus and the U.S. Department of Defense.

The Bankstown facility comprises a 43,055 square-foot hangar with $15 million of manufacturing equipment and infrastructure, along with 13,455 square feet of office that is now Quickstep's headquarters.

The facility was opened by Gary Ervin, corporate vice president and president of Northrop Grumman's Aerospace Systems along with New South Wales Premier Barry O'Farrell.

Philippe Odouard, managing director of Quickstep, said the new Bankstown plant will allow Quickstep to better participate in global supply chain deals and also work more efficiently with the company's Munich plant in Germany and its Dayton R&D facilities in the United States.

"This facility represents a quantum leap in Australian advanced composites manufacturing, strengthening our ability to deliver product and technologies to global industries that increasingly source competitively around the world," said Odouard.

"We are grateful to the NSW government that substantially participated in the funding of this development."


Quickstep's first global supply chain deal was with F-35 subcontractor Northrop Grumman in February last year when it signed a long-term fuselage components contract including doors and panels, so-called Group 1 parts.

Quickstep also is qualifying to enable it to manufacture Group 2 and Group 3 F-35 components which could lead to a 20-year manufacturing partnership, Quickstep said.

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