Quickstep Holdings Limited, an Australian-based advanced composites manufacturer, is pleased to announce it has completed the first production parts for the international F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter (“JSF”) program under the Purchase Order secured by Quickstep in July 2011. The parts have been presented for acceptance to Northrop Grumman weeks ahead of the schedule agreed with Northrop Grumman in 2009.
Quickstep’s Managing Director, Mr. Philippe Odouard, said the commencement of commercial JSF production was a very significant event for the Company and demonstrates that Quickstep has successfully completed the very challenging development, contract negotiation and industrialization phase and has moved into the production and revenue phase.
“This represents the start of Quickstep’s first major production contract for the international defense industry – a core part of the Company’s growth strategy,” Mr. Odouard said.
With serial production now underway, Quickstep hopes to make regular shipments of Group 1 JSF parts to Northrop Grumman and receive regular cash flow, with the intention of ramping up production over the next 12 months.
Quickstep recently received its second Purchase Order for Group 1 parts covering manufacturing and delivery throughout 2013. While details of Purchase Orders will continue to remain confidential, the 2013 Purchase Order represents a 3 fold increase in JSF part deliveries compared to 2012 quantities and Quickstep’s production ramp up will be completed to meet this timetable.
Quickstep expects to secure Long Term Agreements to manufacture Group 2 and Group 3 JSF parts during 2012, which would increase the number and types of JSF parts the Company, will manufacture.
“To date, Quickstep has met, and in many cases outperformed, all JSF delivery deadlines agreed with Northrop Grumman – a record of which we can be justifiably proud,” Mr. Odouard said.
“While recent developments in the US may result in some changes to the JSF program, we do not anticipate any immediate impact on the ramp-up of our operations in Australia. However we will continue to communicate with Northrop Grumman and Lockheed Martin with regards to future purchase programs,” added Mr. Odouard.
The parts, assembled access panels for the F-35 aircraft, represent the first “flying” Group 1 parts manufactured by Quickstep for the JSF program. Quickstep initially expects to manufacture approximately one completed part per week and will gradually ramp up in quantity.