Australian composites manufacturer Quickstep has completed the first production parts it is making for the Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II, with the firm hoping to secure additional work on the programme.

The parts have been presented to Northrop Grumman - a major partner in the F-35 programme - for acceptance. They were covered in a July 2011 purchase order from the US company.

"The parts, assembled access panels for the F-35 aircraft, represent the first "flying" Group 1 parts manufactured by Quickstep for the [F-35] programme," says Quickstep in a statement. "Quickstep initially expects to manufacture approximately one completed part per week and will gradually ramp up quantity."

The company recently signed its second order for Group 1 parts and hopes to sign long-term agreements this year for Group 2 and Group 3 F-35 parts.

"This represents the start of Quickstep's first major production contract for the international defence industry - a core part of the company's growth strategy," says Quickstep managing director Philippe Odouard.

"With serial production now underway, we will be making regular shipments of Group 1 JSF [Joint Strike Fighter] parts to Northrop Grumman and receiving regular cash flow, with the intention of ramping up production over the next 12 months," he adds.

Source: Flight International