The company has announced funding for the first phase of an arms facility upgrade in NSW.
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Thales Australia has confirmed it will invest $6.5 million in the first phase of an industrial plan to upgrade its Lithgow Arms facility in NSW.
This is expected to include the establishment of a modern manufacturing and integration hub for the design, development and precision manufacture of weapons systems for the Australian Defence Force, industrial partners and export customers.
The first phase of the transformation is also set to include:
- the integration of traditional precision manufacturing processes with modern digital technologies, including 3D printing;
- the installation of automated electro-plating and other metal treatment capabilities;
- the development of a new purpose-built live firing test and evaluation capability to support systems integration; and
- the acceleration of research and technology development of digitised small-arms and weapon system platforms.
The facility is also expected to house collaboration between research institutions, SMEs and industrial partners.
Once complete, the upgraded facility is tipped to support sovereign manufacturing partnerships for ADF projects, including the co-development of components for the Commonwealth government’s LAND 400 Phase 2 project in collaboration with Rheinmetall Defence Australia.
“Lithgow has been the home of small arms manufacturing for over a century,” Corry Roberts, vice president, land, Thales Australia & New Zealand, said.
“Transforming Australia’s manufacturing capability benefits Australia’s self-reliance and evolves the capability of the broader Australian advanced manufacturing sector, which is essential in growing local jobs, and delivering advanced capability advantage to the Australian Defence Force.”
Graham Evenden, director integrated weapons and sensors, said Thales’ design team is pushing the boundaries of traditional small arms production.
“Our future systems include automated and augmented features enabled by modern networked sensors and sovereign Artificial Intelligence while the system architecture is being developed to support integration with next generation soldier systems,” Evenden said.
“Our industrial plan is designed to support the manufacture, maintenance and upgrade of our future systems and seeing this first phase come to life is very rewarding for our Lithgow teams.”
[Related: Thales Australia wins Boxer CRV subcontract]