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Quickstep seals new 6-year F-35 deal

written by Staff reporter | November 7, 2022

Two RAAF F-35s over the Northern Territory during Exercise Diamond Storm 2022 (Defence, LAC Samuel Miller)New

Quickstep has agreed a new six-year deal to produce components for Northrop Grumman’s global F-35 program.

The Australian carbon fibre composites manufacturer was first integrated into the prime’s global supply chain in 2012.

The work is expected to be undertaken in Sydney, to support Northrop’s manufacturing of the centre fuselage for all three F-35 variants.

The F-35 is the country’s newest fighter, purchased to replace the RAAF’s F/A-18A/B Classic Hornets that were in service since 1985 and retired in late 2021.

Over the coming years, Australia will buy 72 as part of the $17 billion AIR 6000 Phase 2A/B program, with all expected to be fully operational by 2023.


Thus far, the fighters have clocked in excess of 15,000 flight hours and have already achieved initial operational capability, making it combat-ready.

The aircraft comes in three variants: the F-35A — purchased by Australia — is a conventional take-off and landing (CTOL) version; the F-35B is a short take-off/vertical landing (STOVL) variant, and the final F-35C is the carrier type (CV).

The RAAF took delivery of four more in September, taking its current fleet to 54.

“We are delighted to have secured this multi-year buy with Northrop Grumman,” said Josh Scanlon, business leader, Aerostructures, Quickstep Holdings Limited.

“These firm orders secure our Northrop Grumman F‑35 order book through 2025 and are a great example of the value Australian industry delivers to the world’s largest defence aerospace program.”

It comes after Australian Aviation last month reported how Quickstep would manufacture components for Australian firm Carbonix’s hybrid surveillance drone Volanti.

The two companies said the deal would be the foundation of a partnership that will in future extend to all of Carbonix’s UAVs.

Last year, Carbonix raised $6.3 million in late seed funding to expand its services into North America, with Quickstep a $1 million investor.

Volanti is an electric, fixed-wing drone that can fly at speed horizontally but take off vertically, conducting aerial surveys across difficult terrain. It has a two-hour flight time and 1kg payload limit.

Carbonix CEO, Philip van der Burg, said “With state-of-the-art facilities in New South Wales and Victoria, Carbonix is thrilled to be partnering with Quickstep and their highly trained and enthusiastic workforce, renowned for their innovative approach.”

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Comment (1)

  • Tom Wilson


    This is great news. I love the F35 program and it’s great to be part of it here. Tom

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