A Queensland company has landed a major Defence contract to supply 155mm Lightweight Towed Howitzer ammunition to the Australian Army.
Brisbane-based NIOA was awarded the $100 million contract, under the LAND 17-1C.2 program, by Defence Industry Minister Christopher Pyne, who said the contract could create up to 22 new jobs.
Twelve new jobs will be made at NIOA for the next two years while the ammunition is qualified and then, subject to a successful business case, NIOA has estimated up to 10 more people could he employed for the domestic assembly of training ammunition.
NIOA currently has several key partnerships with major defence primes, including LAND 400 Phase 2 contender Rheinmetall. Minister Pyne said these partnerships have gone a long way in ensuring Australia's military has access to the best equipment.
"NIOA’s partnership with Rheinmetall Defence, their subsidiaries and Junghans Microtec, demonstrates the innovative approaches embraced by Australian companies to ensure our military is equipped with the best capabilities in the world," Minister Pyne said.
"This ammunition will replace an ageing ammunition stock, providing increased range and lethality, as well as a greater range of effects such as infrared illumination to enhance the Army’s advanced night fighting capability.
"This is an exciting new market for Australian defence industry and we hope after successful qualification of the ammunition, industry can start making the training rounds locally."
NIOA is also looking at additional opportunities for domestic manufacture of other types of 155mm ammunition.
This latest announcement comes after NIOA secured a five-year, $95 million supply munitions contract in November last year. Under that contract, NIOA will supply more than 30 different munitions, including small arms and 120mm M1A1 Abrams tank ammunition. NIOA will source the munitions from their internal partners: Rheinmetall Waffe Munitions, Orbital ATK and Vista Outdoors.
The five-year contract also includes an option to extend to 15 years.
NIOA has developed a purpose-built facility adjacent to Brisbane Airport that includes a state-of-the-art indoor firing range enabling weapon and ammunition testing in controlled conditions.
The company was recently selected as the prime vendor to supply recoil operated semi-automatic Barrett M107A1's and MRAD weapon systems to the New Zealand Defence Force. NIOA has also established a new expanded team to support the growth of its defence and government business sector.