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Quickstep to set up factory in Kansas targeting US commercial drone market

Manufacturing News

Aerospace composite manufacturer Quickstep has announced it will expand in the US, with Wichita, Kansas as the preferred location for an upcoming engineering and manufacturing facility.

Quickstep has three sites in Australia – at Bankstown in NSW, and Waurn Ponds and Tullamarine in Victoria – as well as a Dallas sales office. The three Australian sites are focussed on composites manufacture, R&D and MRO respectively.

In a statement on Thursday, Quickstep said it had spent eight months and examined over 20 US locations before deciding on Wichita, which is home to major aerospace companies including Bombardier Learjet and Textron Aviation, the maker of Beechcraft and Cessna.

Phase one of the planned investment involves establishing a facility and team to support it, and expansion of the patented Qure out-of-autoclave curing technology – “combined with other automated composite fabrication and assembly process investments” – to position Quickstep as a supplier for the drone market.

Quickstep’s recent contract manufacture work for drone companies includes with European cargo airline Dronamics and Sydney-based Carbonix.

Emerging opportunities under the AUKUS defence and technology alliance were also cited.

Quickstep said it expects to have an “initial operational capability” at the site during CY24

The decision included consideration of “competitive expressions of interest for shortlisted sites and final offers from state economic development agencies” said the ASX-listed Quickstep, and said the Kansas government offered “a compelling investment case” with a “competitive, high-quality location for aerospace business operations” including an established ecosystem of talent and partners. 

“Wichita is a globally recognised centre of excellence for aerospace technology, the location itself will offer significant business expansion opportunities,” said Steve Osborne VP Quickstep Inc. 

“Our existing presence in the US is already presenting greater certainty over new business opportunities and opening many more potential customer and contract relationships. This is an exciting time for Quickstep Inc and growth in the US will become a defining feature of overall future growth across the group.” 

Picture: credit Quickstep

Further reading

Quickstep wins aerostructure contract for cargo drones

Quickstep progresses AeroQure composites process

Carbonix boosts drone production with Quickstep order

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