Quickstep steps up drone manufacturing capabilities

Aerospace composites manufacturer Quickstep has deepened its involvement in the drone sector with a new agreement that gives it access to critical control technologies and systems.

The Sydney company signed an exclusive manufacturing and engineering integration agreement with TB2 LLC of Breckenridge, Colorado for its TB2 Pod Interface system used to control Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAVs).

The patented system provides an autonomous means of connecting a range of podded solutions to drones, allowing operators to deliver rapid-change, multi-mission capabilities with reduced human intervention.

Under the terms of the agreement, Quickstep will provide an initial $500,000 of engineering and structural integration services for the incorporation of the TB2 interface to customer aircraft, and will assist TB2 with the design, integration, supplier management and servicing of podded solutions.

Quickstep manufactures aerospace composite systems and UAVs, including recent moves to manufacture cargo drones and to establish a US production facility.

The new agreement also includes Quickstep taking a minority equity position in TB2, funded via a merchandise credit note which will be drawn down in respect of design, development and prototyping work.

This programme and the equity position in TB2 is intended to further expand Quickstep’s reach across the UAS manufacturing and services sector.

The founder of TB2 Hank Scott said: “We have taken a logistics-at-scale approach to all aspects of our systems’ development, so when we started to look for a partner with the ability to design, mass produce and scale our system in various sizes for various industries it was a simple choice.

“Quicksteps’ ability to integrate our hardware, our vendors avionics and our partners UAV’s is crucial to streamlining our future plans.”

Steve Osborne, Vice President Quickstep USA, Inc. said the company believed there is a substantial market for standardised podded capabilities across a range of commercial and defence applications.

Osborne said: “The ability to provide ‘capability in a box’ and other services, utilising a common system that requires minimal human intervention, addresses a real challenge in the drone sector.”

Work will be carried out at Quickstep’s Geelong, Victoria facility and at their Wichita, Kansas facility once that site becomes operational.

Further reading:
Quickstep to set up factory in Kansas targeting US commercial drone market
Quickstep wins aerostructure contract for cargo drones

Picture: Quickstep

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