Quickstep and Sikorsky sign MOU on Defence Contracts and Quickstep Process Development
- Quickstep and global helicopter company, Sikorsky, sign Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to:
Assist Quickstep to win Sikorsky international supply contracts; and
Support the development of the patented 'Quickstep Process' for the manufacture of components for Sikorsky helicopters.
- MOU subject to Sikorsky being awarded contract under Australian Department of Defence's Air 9000 Phase 8 program.
- Represents opportunity for Quickstep to secure further defence and aerospace manufacturing contracts.
Australian advanced materials company Quickstep Holdings Limited (ASX:QHL - "Quickstep") has secured a further opportunity for aerospace/defence manufacturing work in Australia, today announcing it has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with global helicopter company, Sikorsky International Operations Inc ("Sikorsky"), aimed at enabling Quickstep to become a recognised supplier to Sikorsky's global supply chain.
The MOU is contingent on Sikorsky securing a contract for the purchase of its MH-60R helicopters under the Australian Department of Defence's Air 9000 Phase 8 program. Sikorsky is one of two helicopter suppliers that have tendered for the program, which is the Australian Department of Defence's acquisition program for a new navy tactical helicopter fleet. The contract is expected to be awarded in the Third Quarter of 2011.
If Sikorsky is successful in winning this contract, the MOU is intended to lead to Quickstep becoming a participant in Sikorsky's Australian Industry Participation Program.
Under the terms of the MOU, the two companies will work together firstly to enable Quickstep to become a recognised supplier to Sikorsky's global supply chain, and secondly to conduct joint development work aimed at preparing Quickstep's patented manufacturing technology - the Quickstep Process - for use in Sikorsky supply chain work as the Quickstep Process demonstrates competitive advantage.
The MOU is in keeping with Quickstep's two pronged strategy to secure manufacturing business - firstly through the promotion of the patented Quickstep Process as a viable new technology for the manufacture of high performance composites, and secondly by facilitating composite contracts that can be completed at the Company's Australian manufacturing facility using the Quickstep Process or traditional composites manufacturing techniques such as autoclave.
It is expected that Sikorsky would assist Quickstep to prepare to enter the Sikorsky supply chain to gain contracts for manufacture in Australia.
Managing Director of Quickstep, Mr Philippe Odouard, said the agreement represented another opportunity for Quickstep to secure additional large-scale aerospace manufacturing contracts.
"Sikorsky is a major manufacturer of helicopters globally, and we are delighted to have the opportunity to work with them to join their supply chain. The potential to secure substantial contracts through the Sikorsky Supply Chain represents a further step for Quickstep to build its contract based business on the back of last month's announcement of a Long Term Agreement with Northrop Grumman for the supply of parts under the international F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program," Mr Odouard said.
"We are also pleased by Sikorsky's specific interest in our patented Quickstep Process, which has demonstrated key material and cost benefits for the manufacture of high performance composite materials," he continued.
Initial focus for opportunities for Quickstep to participate in Sikorsky's global supply chain will be on composite materials including, but not limited to, components for Sikorsky's H60, S70 and CH53K helicopters.
Sikorsky's Vice President - Supply Chain, Mr Al Altieri, said Sikorsky had a strong interest in the Quickstep Process following positive development programs undertaken with Quickstep's US subsidiary, Quickstep Composites LLC.
"We believe the Quickstep Process may offer exciting benefits for the manufacture of composite materials and, subject to the award of the Air 9000 Phase 8 program, look forward to Quickstep's involvement in our Australian Industry Participation Program," he said.
Quickstep is an Australian-based company at the forefront of advanced materials manufacturing and technology transfer for the global aerospace and defence industries.
The use of advanced composites is rapidly growing with carbon material usage planned to increase at an average rate of 20% per annum for the next 10 years, underwritten by the emergence of high-use carbon fibre commercial aircraft such as the Boeing 787 and Airbus A350. Light weighting of vehicles is the prime driver with commercial aircraft and military equipment leading the charge.
Quickstep has significant capabilities and expertise in the production of aerospace-grade composite components using both conventional autoclave-based manufacturing and leading edge out-of-autoclave production technologies, including its proprietary Quickstep Process. Quickstep is set to generate revenue using three distinct business models:
1. Technology transfer through the provision of the proprietary Quickstep Process and production equipment;
2. Manufacture of composite components, out of its Australian facility; and
3. Conducting paid or self-funded Research & Development on new composite structures.
Quickstep signed two Memorandums of Understanding (MOU's) in 2009 in relation to manufacturing contracts for the international F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) program - the largest military aerospace program in the world, currently valued at in excess of US$300 billion worldwide. The first was signed
with global aerospace companies, Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman, for around $700 million of potential contracts. The second MOU was signed with Melbourne-based Marand Precision Engineering for up to $50 million of contracts to manufacture Vertical Tail skins for the JSF.
Quickstep signed a Long Term Agreement with Northrop Grumman in relation to the JSF program in February 2011, with a start date for JSF part delivery set for early 2012.
The Company has a fully-commissioned aerospace-grade manufacturing facility located in North Coogee, Western Australia, and recently announced plans to relocate its manufacturing operations to Bankstown, New South Wales, to a new facility that offers the scale, resources and utilities necessary to undertake large-scale, long term aerospace manufacturing contracts.
In addition to its Australian operations, Quickstep also has facilities in strategic global locations including North America, Europe and the UK.
The Company is currently partnering with some of the world's largest aerospace/defence companies, including the US Department of Defense, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, Boeing, Airbus and EADS.
For further information, visit: www.quickstep.com.au