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 programme. Sikorsky is one of two helicopter suppliers that have tendered for the contract, which is expected to be awarded in the third quarter of 2011.

If Sikorsky wins this contract, the MOU is intended to lead to Quickstep becoming a participant in Sikorsky’s Australian Industry Participation Programme.

Under the terms of the MOU, Sikorsky and Quickstep will work together to enable Quickstep to become a recognised supplier to Sikorsky’s global supply chain, and conduct joint development work aimed at preparing Quickstep’s patented composites manufacturing technology (the Quickstep Process) for use in the Sikorsky supply chain work.

Initial opportunities for Quickstep will focus on composite materials, including components for Sikorsky’s H60, S70 and CH53K helicopters.

Managing Director of Quickstep, Philippe Odouard, says the agreement represents 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 programme.”

“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 adds.

Sikorsky’s Vice President – Supply Chain, Al Altieri, says Sikorsky has a strong interest in the Quickstep Process following positive development programmes 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 programme, look forward to Quickstep’s involvement in our Australian Industry Participation Programme.