Leading Australian drone manufacturer, Carbonix, has signed a new $2.3 million contract with Australia’s largest independent aerospace composite manufacturer, Quickstep Holdings (ASX: QHL), that will see the company triple its drone production over the next year.
Under the 12 month contract, Quickstep will manufacture 40 of Carbonix’s latest long-range unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV). The UAV is the next successor to the Domani and optimised for linear asset inspections and features wings with advanced aerodynamics, increased payload capacity and an aviation-standard twin cylinder engine for propulsion in horizontal flight, allowing for steep climb rates to follow power lines in low density-altitude (hot and high) conditions.
Carbonix CEO Philip van der Burg said Quickstep’s manufacturing processes and quality management systems deliver the high levels of quality assurance Carbonix customers expect while allowing the company to scale production to meet local and overseas demand.
"We understand the critical role that quality assurance plays in delivering the highest level of performance to our customers. That's why we're thrilled to partner with a company that shares our commitment to excellence, and whose advanced processes and quality management systems will help us raise the bar even higher,” he said.
Quickstep Managing Director Mark Burgess said the company anticipated demand for the aircraft to significantly exceed initial production volumes.
“Our engineering-led industrial solutions have great traction with drone companies and we are delighted to be supporting Carbonix as they increase their market penetration in Australia and the USA,” he said.
Quickstep is a leader in delivering advanced composite solutions to the global aerospace and defence sectors, relied upon by the world’s most trusted aircraft manufacturers. The company manufactures high complexity composite components for aircraft such as the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, C-130J, F/A-18 and F-15E, working with several high-profile customers including Lockheed Martin, Boeing, Northrop Grumman and BAE Systems.
The deal is the second stage of a broader manufacturing partnership, announced late last year, which will eventually see Quickstep manufacture all Carbonix drones. Quickstep began manufacturing Volantis, Carbonix’s smallest all electric fixed-wing VTOL UAV (Vertical take-off and landing Un-crewed Aerial Vehicle) drones, earlier in the year allowing Carbonix to fulfill an order from Anduril, the US defence tech startup founded by tech entrepreneur Palmer Luckey that recently won a $US1 billion counter-drone contract from the US Special Operations Command.