The defence prime has unveiled plans to invest in advanced manufacturing equipment at a government-owned munitions facility in regional NSW.
Thales Australia has announced a $6 million investment in Commonwealth-owned Mulwala facility in regional NSW, aimed at supporting the development of sovereign guided weapons manufacturing capability.
The funds will be used for new large-scale preparation and mixing equipment, expected to deliver a 500 per cent increase in the size of rocket motors that could be manufactured at Mulwala.
This forms part of a broader effort to bolster the local production of advanced guided weapons and hypersonic weapons.
According to Thales, the new equipment would deliver a “step-change” in Australia’s sovereign capacity to produce guided munitions by enabling the manufacture of more than 90 per cent of the ADF’s current strategic rocket propulsion inventory.
“Thales Australia is a strategic partner of the Australian Defence Force and we are committed to investing in the resources and technology necessary to support the ADF and Australian government’s ambition to accelerate the creation of a Sovereign Guided Weapons Enterprise, boosting skilled jobs and helping secure Australia’s sovereign defence capabilities,” Thales Australia chief executive Chris Jenkins said.
Thales Australia is one of the nation’s largest manufacturer of munitions, propellant and military explosives, managing the government owned contractor operated (GOCO) sites in Benalla, Victoria, and Mulwala, NSW.
The company employs over 650 highly skilled staff, supporting munitions systems for the ADF and allied forces.
This latest announcement comes just weeks after the company 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 ADF, industrial partners and export customers.
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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.
News Editor – Defence and Security, Momentum Media
Prior to joining the defence and aerospace team in 2020, Charbel was news editor of The Adviser and Mortgage Business, where he covered developments in the banking and financial services sector for three years. Charbel has a keen interest in geopolitics and international relations, graduating from the University of Notre Dame with a double major in politics and journalism. Charbel has also completed internships with The Australian Department of Communications and the Arts and public relations agency Fifty Acres.