The munitions company is exploring locations for a new small arms manufacturing facility.
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NIOA has announced plans to develop a $50 million factory to house the manufacture of small arms and weapons for the Australian Defence Force, commercial markets and international export.
Lithgow in NSW, Brisbane, and Benalla in Victoria are among the locations being touted as the potential sites for the NIOA Weapons Manufacturing Facility (NWMF).
Construction of the proposed facility, expected to be operational in 2024, is tipped to generate approximately 150 jobs.
According to NIOA CEO Robert Nioa, the planned development would support the company’s bid to secure the next tranche of the LAND 159 Lethality Systems Program, which includes a range of assault rifles and machine guns.
NIOA is currently delivering Stage 1 of Tranche 1 of the project, which includes test and evaluation of the sniper and close combat weapon systems.
The work aims to support the Commonwealth government’s broader effort to bolster munitions and small arms research, design, development and manufacture as one of 10 Sovereign Industrial Capability Priorities (SICP).
“Today’s announcement reinforces NIOA’s commitment to build a resilient, reliable sovereign industrial defence base and modernise domestic manufacturing,’’ Nioa said.
“Small arms are core to our business, through both strong commercial market experience and as a trusted partner to defence and law enforcement agencies over many decades.
“If we are successful in securing Tranche 2 of the LAND 159 Program, we will locate this facility in Australia to establish a sustainable small arms manufacturing capability in support of the ADF while looking at export markets.’’
This latest plan builds on the $60 million joint venture Rheinmetall NIOA Munitions (RNM) plant in Maryborough, Queensland, set to support the production of 155mm artillery shells for the ADF and export orders.
The RNM plant, which was built in under two years, forms part of NIOA’s $130 million capital investment in domestic munitions and explosives manufacturing, including a $13 million refurbishment of the government-owned, contractor-operated (GoCo) munitions plant at Benalla , and an $11 million expansion of its Brisbane headquarters.
“Defence is an industry that the federal government has identified as one of six strategically important manufacturing priorities within a broader Modern Manufacturing Strategy,’’ Nioa added.
“NIOA supports this vision and wants to partner with governments in leading the future of the defence industry.’’