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Quickstep signs second Joint Strike Fighter MoU

Australian advanced materials company Quickstep Holdings Limited (ASX:QHL) is pleased to announce that it today signed an MoU that could lead to a contract worth up to $50 million to supply composite Vertical Tail (VT) skins for the new multi-nation Joint Strike Fighter.  

The MoU is with Melbourne-based Marand Precision Engineering ("Marand"), which has in turn signed an MoU with BAE Systems and Lockheed Martin Corporation ("Lockheed"), the global aerospace group co-ordinating the JSF program.  

The Marand MoU is the second major MoU signed by Quickstep this month. On November 4, Quickstep announced it had signed an MoU with Lockheed and fellow global aerospace company Northrop Grumman Systems Corporation ("Northrop") which is intended to secure around $700 million worth of contracts to manufacture doors and panels for the JSF.  

The JSF is an advanced composite 5th generation fighter, which represents a quantum leap in technology and capability.  The Australian Federal Government is planning to acquire up to 100 of the aircraft.  

The Marand MoU would involve Quickstep manufacturing VT skins utilising advanced composites, which are both light and strong. These skins would be supplied to the non-US partners in the JSF program, including Australia, the UK and Canada. This is currently expected to account for over 700 pairs of Vertical Tails.  

The earlier MoU signed between Quickstep, Lockheed and Northrop paves the way for the parties to work together to finalise the LTA for 19,325 composite doors and access panels.  These parts will all be exported to the United States for incorporation into the JSF globally. Quickstep hopes to finalise both Long Term Agreements with by the end of March 2010.  

Quickstep Managing Director Philippe Odouard said the Marand MoU was another potentially valuable opportunity for Quickstep.  

"The opportunity to manufacture doors and panels for Lockheed would be a company-transforming deal in itself," Mr Odouard said. "It would also give Quickstep the scale and know-how to best provide these VT skins to Marand, BAE Systems and Lockheed," Mr Odouard said.  

"Creating a critical mass of advanced composite manufacturing know-how and capability greatly strengthens our chances of establishing a world class competitive industry here in Australia."  

Marand's CEO Rohan Stocker said "we welcome the opportunity to work with Quickstep on the JSF program.  Both companies are driven by innovation, technology and vision for an industry in Australia."  

As announced on 4 November 2009, the potential JSF contract with Lockheed would create about 156 high-end jobs, including technicians, engineers, machine operators and quality assurance experts and may create a further 620 support industry jobs.  

Mr Odouard said Quickstep was in discussions with other parties concerning further possible JSF-related contracts.  

Press release issued by Quickstep Holdings Ltd. on November 17, 2009


 Contact details from our directory:
BAE Systems plc Airframer
Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Company Airframer
Marand Precision Engineering Tooling, Empennages, Precision Machined Parts
Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems Airframer
Quickstep Holdings Ltd. Aircraft Doors, Fuselage Sections, Subcontracted Composite Parts, Composite Design Consultants, Composite Manufacturing Services, Empennages, Wing Flaps, Carbon-reinforced Composites, Foam Core Composites, Laminates, Ultrasonic Testing


 Related aircraft programs:
Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II


 Related directory sectors:
Airframe Assemblies

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