The projectiles were made in the joint venture’s Queensland plant, with production of the advanced artillery munitions now scheduled to increase.
Having begun construction of their $90 million plant just over two years ago, defence manufacturer Rheinmetall NIOA Munitions has confirmed the completion of the joint venture’s first batch of projectiles developed in Australia.
Located in the Moonaboola Industrial Estate, the plant is expected to employ up to 100 skilled staff including engineers, line supervisors, skilled operators, maintenance staff and apprentices.
According to a release from the manufacturer, the factory utilises a 1,250-tonne hot forging press along with computerised machinery to produce the 155mm artillery parts for use by the Australian Defence Force and overseas buyers.
The manufacturers also develop metal parts for other munitions.
The Rheinmetall NIOA Munitions project has received support from federal, state and local councils, including $28.5 million support from the Commonwealth’s Regional Growth Fund, $7.5 million as part of the Queensland government’s Jobs and Regional Growth Fund as well as support from the Fraser Coast regional council.
The milestone was welcomed by state member for Maryborough Bruce Sanders.
“Maryborough will become the number one regional manufacturing hub,” he said.
“It is fantastic to see Rheinmetall NIOA Munitions investing in Maryborough.”
Robert Nioa, deputy chairman, Rheinmetall NIOA Munitions, and CEO of NIOA, noted that the production of the shell marked a big step in Australia’s defence industry.
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“This is a huge step as we scale up production in Maryborough,” he said. “It is also a huge step in providing a sovereign munitions capability never seen before in Australia. We’ve never been able to make a 155mm projectile in Australia,” he said.
‘‘As the ongoing conflict in Ukraine demonstrates, the ability to produce your own munitions is critical for any nation. Artillery projectiles are among the highest use munitions in the Ukrainian conflict.
‘‘The world’s best blueprint is right here in Maryborough and it’s a facility that can be readily expanded to respond to Australian and global demand.
‘‘This would not have been possible without the support from all levels of government.”
“The manufacturing facility will help secure Australia’s defence supply chain while also supporting Rheinmetall’s international supply chain,” Rheinmentall NIOA Munitions chairman and Rheinmentall Waffe Munition CEO Roman Koehne, said.
“This is an important moment where regional Queensland can become an important player in the global supply network of munitions,” he said.
“RNM is proud to call Maryborough home and we look forward to combining Rheinmetall’s global expertise combined with a highly qualified local workforce to elevate Maryborough as a centre of military manufacturing excellence.”