Manufacturer of advanced carbon fibre composites Quickstep Holdings announced that the company has completed the planned $10 million capital expansion of its Aerospace Manufacturing facilities in Bankstown.
The expansion includes a capital investment program for the expansion of Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) production and the commissioning of an automated robot drilling cell for C-130J production. This takes the total investment at the Bankstown site to around $30 million and provides Quickstep with further production capacity to take on additional manufacturing work at the facility.
CEO and managing director of Quickstep David Marino said the investment will allow the company to grow with their existing customers and take on more opportunity in the future.
"We are delighted to announce that we have completed the capital expansion of our Bankstown facilities where we manufacture advanced composite components and complex assemblies for export to our global customers – Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman and BAE Systems," Marino said.
"We have recently invested in additional capital equipment at the Bankstown site to support contracted growth with our existing customers, and we now have production capacity to take on additional growth opportunities, which will improve our performance and profitability."
Quickstep's involvement and investment in the JSF project is extensive, the company has completed over $5 million of capital investment to increase capacity for the manufacture of major composite parts for the JSF Program for Northrop Grumman under a contract valued at $700 million over the life of the program. 558 JSF parts were manufactured for Northrop in FY16, and the program is now ramping up, with Quickstep on track to triple the volume. Peak volumes are still a few years away, with full rate production continuing well into the 2030s.
Quickstep has also completed qualification and initial production of the composite parts for the JSF Vertical Tail program and is supplying vertical tail spars, skins and fairings to Marand Precision Engineering for assembly and supply to BAE Systems in the UK under a contract valued at $139 million of sales over the life of the program. Quickstep supplied 32 vertical tail parts in FY16 and this volume is expected to grow in line with JSF production increases. The JSF growth will see an increase of about 80 direct staff at the Bankstown site by 2019.
Lockheed Martin’s executive vice president and general manager of the F-35 Program Jeff Babione, who is visiting Australia this week with a number of Lockheed Martin executives for the Avalon Airshow, said, "Quickstep is a key supplier to the JSF program and has made substantial investments in its Bankstown manufacturing facilities. I am pleased to see that Quickstep has made itself ready, in preparation for the JSF volume growth that is about to commence.”
Quickstep also recently completed a capital investment program in robotic drilling for manufacture of wing flaps for the C-130J, which has now entered production. The company is the global supplier of this complex assembly to Lockheed Martin; the current C-130J contract is over five years to 2019, and there is a strong expectation that this will be extended in line with Lockheed Martin’s orders from the US government. The C-130J contract is now producing 24 ship sets per annum, plus spares.