This Toll Gate is for Manufacturing Readiness for Group 1 composite parts at Quickstep’s Coogee site in Western Australia. It  was required for Quickstep and Northrop to progress to final negotiations prior to signing the long term agreement (LTA).

The review process required Quickstep to demonstrate that it has processes, procedures and a trained workforce in place and to provide detailed evidence of the readiness of its equipment and facilities as well as an operational demonstration.

The Toll Gate Criteria were divided into 13 different categories, with a total of 160 items of evidence presented during the Review. According to Quickstep Chief Executive Philippe Odouard the first Toll Gate review had been highly successful, with Quickstep achieving an overall rating of 80% with no categories below 50% and most in the 70-90% range.

“For a start-up manufacturing facility this is an outstanding result, which has been achieved in exactly 12 months and on the date we said we would pass it – a great achievement by our staff and a reflection of the enormous dedication and hard work within our organisation,” Odouard said. “Typically, a review of this complexity and stringency would take a lot longer and it is a credit to our team that we have been able to meet all the key criteria on time in such a short space of time.”

Odouard said the completion of the Toll Gate review effectively gave Quickstep the green light to move to the next stage by starting production of Qualification Panels and 'building block' activity – that is, production of actual production parts for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) using tooling provided by Northrup Grumman to demonstrate production-readiness.

“This is a significant milestone for Quickstep as it demonstrates to Northrop that we are ready and able to deliver the first of the F-35 components and is the last of the capability barriers that stood in front of Quickstep and the signing of the LTA,” he continued.

Quickstep specialises 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.