Thales Australia has announced an expansion of the company’s small arms research and development (R&D) team in Lithgow as it anticipates the future technology requirements of a digitised battlespace for the Australian Defence Force.
With the Thales designed and manufactured EF88 in service with the ADF, the R&D team are looking to make radical, innovative enhancements to future small arms capability, and are looking for an additional nine of the ‘best and brightest’ engineers to join their ranks.
Director soldier weapons systems at Thales, Graham Evenden, said that this push for development is a direct response to drive and maximise the benefit of new manufacturing processes, novel materials and AI.
“We have some really exciting, technologically disruptive R&D projects going on right now, with a lot more on the horizon. Working together with our industry and academic partners, we are aiming to deliver a ‘best of breed’ capability and ensure we support a robust and enduring sovereign industry capability,” Evenden explained.
“These projects are creating new roles within our R&D team, in fact it will be doubling in size. And when you look at the wider industrial ecosystem, it’s creating a lot more opportunities for growth for our SME supply chain and our partners in academia. Army is looking towards the future and how to best meet the challenges of the changing threat environment in order to be ‘future ready’.
“We’ve been a trusted partner of the Australian Army since our Small Arms factory in Lithgow began manufacturing rifles in 1912, and we are investing heavily to ensure we are on the journey forwards with them.”
Member for Bathurst Paul Toole said he welcomes the continuing commitment by Thales into its operations in Lithgow and jobs creation in the region.
“The fact that Thales is set to double its research and development team in Lithgow sends a clear message that Thales is here for the long term,” he said.
“Thales are a good community partner and I know their projects are at the cutting edge of technology and this investment in the future means there’s exciting times ahead for the company.”
The new roles within the team will come from a broad range of engineering disciplines and will engage closely with industry, academia, and premier research bodies such as DST Group and CSIRO.
Thales Australia is a trusted partner of the Australian Defence Force and is also present in commercial sectors ranging from air traffic management and ground transport systems to security systems and services.
Thales Australia employs around 3,800 people directly and supports over 1,700 job along its Australian supply chain. In 2019, Thales Australia spent $522 million with 1,362 Australia suppliers, of which 70 per cent are SMEs.
Thales Australia has a history of patient investment to build advanced in-country capability across manufacturing, critical systems and services. Close collaborative relationships with local customers, Australian SME suppliers and research institutions combined with technology transfer from our global business enables Thales to tailor high-quality solutions for Australian and export markets, generating revenue of $1.6 billion in exports over the past 10 years.