Aerospace composites manufacturer Quickstep has announced a new partnership with drone logistics company Swoop Aero to assist in the manufacturing and delivery of the new Australian-built KITE unmanned cargo aircraft.
KITE is Swoop Aero’s recently launched next-generation freight drone. It can carry a payload of up to 5 kilograms, at a speed of up to 200 kilometres per hour, for a range of up to 180 kilometres on a single charge.
Under the new partnership, Quickstep will supply Swoop Aero with engineering, tooling and manufacturing services for KITE, which is currently in the process of achieving its US Federal Aviation Administration certification.
The deal also includes an initial production run of aircraft ship sets worth $1.5 million, with a delivery period running to mid-2022.
Quickstep has the scope to supply a “much larger” number of ship sets in the future under the strategic supply agreement, Swoop Aero said, if demand requires.
“We are delighted to be partnering with a purpose-driven organisation like Swoop Aero,” Quickstep CEO Mark Burgess said.
“They are developing world-leading technology and infrastructure to deliver a revolution in drone-based logistics that will positively impact large sections of humanity.
“This relationship allows us to leverage the very best of Australian advanced manufacturing software development and ingenuity and take it to the world.”
Meanwhile, Swoop Aero CEO and co-founder Eric Peck said, “Our organisation is Australian made and grown, so our strategic supplier-operator collaboration with Quickstep maintains our dedicated trajectory to keep our innovation and manufacturing local, driving outcomes for Australian industry which in turn is delivering impact across the globe.
“With demand for our services increasing worldwide, this strategic partnership will further support the growth targets for our manufacturing capability.
“Thanks to Quickstep, we can guarantee that our manufacturing team can meet the increased demand for our aircraft, with up to 1,000 aircraft already planned for manufacture in 2022.”