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Thales Australia to commence Lithgow Arms facility upgrade in February

Thales Australia is expected to commence construction on its new manufacturing 4.0 and integration hub in early February, having recently received development approval.

Thales Australia is expected to commence construction on its new manufacturing 4.0 and integration hub in early February, having recently received development approval.

Thales Australia has announced that the company will commence construction on their new Lithgow Arms facility in February, delivering an advanced manufacturing 4.0 and integration hub to facilitate the development of future locally designed weapons systems.

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The facility will syncretise both traditional and modern manufacturing capabilities, such as 3D printing, automated electro-plating and metal treatment capabilities.

It is expected that the new facility will further include purpose-built live fire test and evaluation integrations to enable system qualification tests, and enhance research into digitised small-arms weapons systems.

The confirmation follows Thales Australia’s $12 million commitment in November to invest in new manufacturing capabilities at the company’s Lithgow and Mulwala sites.

The upgrades are designed to support the Commonwealth’s push to develop sovereign munitions and small arms capabilities from research to manufacture. It is further hoped that the new facility will better enable Thales Australia to support its current partnerships with the Australian Defence Force, as well as their collaboration with Rheinmetall Defence Australia to develop components for the LAND 400 program.

According to Thales Australia, the site has been purpose built for enhanced collaboration with research institutions as well as SMEs and industrial partners to support a stronger sovereign manufacturing industry.

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In December, Thales Australia has confirmed it is on track to commence production of the 155mm M795 Artillery Projectile capability early next year after receiving qualification of its Australian-made TNT to military specifications from the US Department of Defense.

The production process — set to take place in Benalla, regional Victoria — is set to include the filling of steel projectile bodies with high explosive TNT, final assembly, and completion of the quality inspections.

The filled projectiles will be further assessed, and undergo a certification process to ensure they meet ADF and US military specifications.

The production of the 155mm M795 Artillery Projectiles are expected to support the broader push to build sovereign munitions capability for the Australian Defence Force and international partners. 

The Australian-made TNT to be produced in Victoria includes toluene supplied by Geelong-based SME Viva Energy. 

The qualification of Australian TNT follows the partnership established between Thales Australia and the US Army’s Development Command Armaments Center, aimed at establishing a sovereign manufacturing capability for 155mm M795 HE projectiles in Australia.

[Related: Thales Australia gears up for local projectile artillery production]

Thales Australia to commence Lithgow Arms facility upgrade in February
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