The centre is expected to facilitate the continued growth of the company’s SME and industrial partners by proving access to resources and equipment.
Thales Australia has confirmed that their Lithgow Arms business has opened the Small Arms Collaboration and Cooperation Centre (C3) to support Australian SMEs and industry partners.
The new centre is expected to remove cost hurdles for small-to-medium businesses looking to innovate by offering access to resources, equipment, engineering skills and expertise.
It is hoped that the C3 will facilitate greater collaboration between industry partners, with participants connecting with one another to share insights, teach skills, partner on research and design, while acquiring manufacturing support.
It is hoped that the collaborative learning model will support the continued growth in small arms innovation, providing Australian defence businesses greater access to supply chains, Defence and the global economy.
Among those taking part in the C3 are Southern Cross Small Arms, Hosico, A.W. Bell and Wedgetail Industries, who are gaining unique insight into prototyping, test and evaluation, qualification, industrialisation and advanced manufacturing.
The companies are currently working on products for sporting shooters and the agriculture industry, and further enhancing their Australian industry content.
Thales Australia, however, explained that the biggest success story had been the Thales Australia, Rheinmetall Defence Australia and AW Bell collaboration for Rheinmetall’s Mk30-2 cannon as part of the LAND 400 program. AW Bell is now working directly with Rheinmetall.
The announcement comes as the company invested $6.5 million in the first phase of an industrial plan for the Lithgow site.
“Opening the C3 inside the Lithgow Arms factory is critical in achieving the vision of the Lithgow Arms masterplan and redevelopment,” Matt Duquemin, director, integrated weapons and sensors, Thales Australia, said.
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“The future of our business here in Lithgow is not just about building an advanced manufacturing precinct – it’s about growing a sustainable and competitive sovereign industry capability in regional New South Wales to ensure the Australian Defence Force is ready now, future ready.”
[Related: Thales awarded NATO contract]