Thales Australia has unveiled concept plans for the future of Lithgow Arms – a precinct to develop and manufacture the next generation soldier weapons systems for the future Australian Defence Force.
In order to maintain a capability advantage for Australia’s Defence Force, the soldier weapons systems of the future will integrate both traditional manufacturing and digital technologies, including 3D printing, advanced optical and targeting equipment and digitally networked communications.
Thales’ plans envisage drawing together these advanced skills and industrial capability in this next generation precinct to maintain an enduring, resilient and world leading sovereign industrial capability for the ADF in Lithgow.
Thales Australia CEO Chris Jenkins welcomed the announcement, drawing on the history and connection of the Lithgow Small Arms Factory to equipping Australia's service personnel, saying, "Since 1912, the Lithgow Small Arms Factory (now known as Lithgow Arms) has proudly supported Australia’s soldiers on battlefields around the world.
"Thales Australia is seeking to build on this distinguished heritage to create the Sovereign Industrial Capability Precinct in Lithgow. This precinct will position Lithgow at the forefront of more than $2 billion of domestic and significant export opportunities in the next 10 years."
The precinct will also integrate trade and research institutions, SME partners and key industrial partners to create the soldier systems and small arms of the future, and secure the next generation of manufacturing and engineering skills in Lithgow and across the central west.
"Lithgow has been the home of small arms manufacturing for over a century, and Thales is seeking strong support from the government to secure its future both for the next generation soldier weapons systems and the skilled workforce behind the Defence Force," Jenkins said.
Thales in Australia is part of a leading international electronics and systems group serving the defence, aerospace and space, security, and transport markets in Australia and throughout the world.
Thales is one of the ADF's most trusted partners and is a leader in research and development. The company has strong affiliations with the Defence Science and Technology Group (DSTG) and the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) as well as leading tertiary institutions in Australia.