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Quickstep reports increased production rate of F-35 components in Q3 2016/17

written by australianaviation.com.au | May 1, 2017

An Australian F-35A Joint Strike Fighter (A35-002) at Luke Air Force Base, Arizona. (Defence)
An Australian F-35A Joint Strike Fighter (A35-002) at Luke Air Force Base, Arizona. (Defence)

Quickstep Holdings says it more than doubled the number of delivered parts for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter project in the three months to March 31 2017 and is expecting a “fast growth trajectory” in the period ahead.

The Australian manufacturer said it delivered 310 parts for the F-35 program in the third quarter of 2016/17, up 128 per cent from 136 parts in the prior corresponding period.

Quickstep has agreements with several original equipment manufacturers to supply F-35 parts for the next two decades valued at about US$700 million. This included being the sole supplier for Northrop Grumman for 21 F-35 parts, including doors, panels, lower skins and other composite parts.

It also has a long-term agreement with Marand for the supply of about 700 sets of carbon fibre composite parts for the F-35, including skins, spars and fairings, which was signed in April 2014.

“Quickstep’s JSF program has a fast growth trajectory, with manufacturing expected to triple from FY16 to FY19,” Quickstep said in its quarterly sales report released on April 28.

“JSF production averaged more than 100 parts per month through Q3.”

Separately, Quickstep is the sole global supplier of wing flaps for the C‐130J Super Hercules after signing a five-year memorandum of agreement in December 2013. Current C-130J orders extend through to 2019.

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It delivered four ship-sets and two sets of spares for the C-130J program in the three months to March 31 2017, taking total production for the year to date to 18 ship-sets and five spares.

The company said the $10 million program of capital investment at its Bankstown facility to enable higher levels of JSF production, as well as further automation for its C‐130J Super Hercules contract, has been completed.

“Over $30 million has now been invested in Quickstep’s state of the art manufacturing facility, and the business is now in a position to deliver additional contract volumes,” Quickstep said.

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“Quickstep is negotiating with new customers for additional volume opportunities at the Bankstown site.”

Quickstep reported sales of $12.7 million for the quarter, which it said was in line with expectations. Meanwhile, sales for the nine months to March 31 was $37.3 million, an improvement of five per cent compared with the prior corresponding period.

“F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) production grew strongly, offsetting lower C-130J Hercules production, with the program returning to long-term rates after higher-volume deliveries in FY16,” Quickstep said.

“Quickstep anticipates FY17 revenue in excess of $51 million, with FY17 C-130 deliveries lower than expected, but no change to the overall program volume.”

The firm order book stood at $115 million at the end of March 2017.

As previously announced, Quickstep chief executive David Marino is stepping down for personal reasons. His replacement Mark Burgess, previously vice president at Honeywell Aerospace Asia Pacific, begins as Quickstep chief executive on May 8.

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