What is the F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter?
The F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) program is the single largest military program in history. The United States alone intends to buy a total of 2,443 aircraft for an estimated US$323 billion. While the United States is the primary customer and financial backer, the United Kingdom, Italy, the Netherlands, Canada, Turkey, Australia, Norway and Denmark have agreed to contribute US$4.375 billion toward the development costs of the program. Total development costs are estimated at more than US$40 billion (underwritten largely by the United States), while the purchase of an estimated 2,400 aircraft is expected to cost an additional US$200 billion. The nine major partner nations plan to acquire over 3,100 F-35s through to 2035.
Contrary to recent media speculation that the JSF program could be jeopardised by cost increases, production and testing of the F-35 aircraft is continuing to ramp up and is progressing well. View Lockheed Martin's recent F-35 Lightning II Program Update presentation, presented to the Quickstep team in December 2012, for an overview of latest developments.
Quickstep's participation in the JSF program
In November 2009 Quickstep announced the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Northrop Grumman and Lockheed Martin Corporation to manufacture advanced composite parts for the F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter aircraft over the estimated 20 year life of the program.
This day marked a defining shift in Quickstep's history, enabling the Company to enter the highest levels of technology supply to the defence industry - the 5th Generation Stealth F-35 Joint Strike Fighter.
After signing the MoU, Quickstep immediately embarked on a program to prepare its manufacturing facility for JSF manufacturing, and in February 2011 signed a Long Term Agreement (LTA) providing a formal framework under which Quickstep will participate in an international supply chain for the production of F-35 composites subassemblies, with parts to be delivered to Northrop Grumman’s assembly operations in the USA.
The Company received its first Purchase Order in July 2011, covering production of Group 1 JSF components over an initial 12 month period, and shipped its first production part more than a month ahead of schedule in October 2011.
In parallel with Group 1 part manufacturing, which is now well underway, Quickstep is also undertaking the qualification process to enable the Company to manufacture Group 2 and Group 3 F-35 components.
Under the MOU, Quickstep will supply a number of different JSF components, including lower side skins, maintenance access panels, fuel tank covers, lower skins and in-board weapons bay doors, projected to amount to some 36,000+ parts over the life of the program and could generate hundreds of millions of dollars of revenue over the life of the aircraft.
Find more information on the F-35 Lightning II JSF program at: