The original provider of the bonnets and other composites for the $1.3 billion LAND 121 Phase 4 Thales Hawkei vehicles has announced its official withdrawal date from the project.
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Australian advanced manufacturer Quickstep Holdings' quarterly report revealed the final components the company is producing for the project will be completed in H2 FY18.
"Production of a third lot of 20 sets of composite body parts for the Hawkei vehicle commenced in the quarter," the report said.
"The sets comprise 190 individual components and will be completed in H2 FY18. This will be the last set of parts produced for Hawkei, with Quickstep ceasing non-core programs that do not fit with its future growth plans."
Tasmanian SME Penguin Composites will replace Quickstep as the provider of the vehicle's bonnet, side skirts and mud guards, with the manufacture of prototype parts already underway and production parts expected to be available from late December.
The three-year contract, worth over $8 million, represents the company’s first major defence-related contract, and is expected to create around 15 jobs at its facility at Penguin in north-west Tasmania.
Founded in 1976, Penguin is a home-grown Tasmanian company specialising in the manufacture of composite products.
The company’s capabilities include design and engineering of moulds and plugs, and fibreglass and composite component manufacturing, in addition to specialist composite product manufacturing.
Quickstep Holdings told Defence Connect the company was withdrawing from the project for "profitability and growth" reasons.
"Quickstep has undertaken a comprehensive review of all aspects of the Quickstep business, which was completed in July 2017," the company told Defence Connect.
"Having developed a strong and robust plan under the ‘OneQuickstep’ banner, to accelerate profitability and growth, Quickstep confirms that subject to appropriate program timing, the company will cease non-core programs that do not fit with our future growth plans. This includes the Thales Hawkei project, which uses glass fibre technology which is not aligned to Quickstep’s business."
The Commonwealth chose Thales Australia to deliver 1,100 of the 4x4 vehicles and over 1,000 companion trailers in 2015.