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NIOA reveals improved small arms testing facility ahead of LAND 159 Tranche 2

The Brisbane-based company has upgraded its small arms testing facility to better deliver enhanced weapons capabilities for Australian warfighters as it pursues LAND 159 Tranche 2.

The Brisbane-based company has upgraded its small arms testing facility to better deliver enhanced weapons capabilities for Australian warfighters as it pursues LAND 159 Tranche 2.

Over the last 18 months, the company invested $1.1 million into specialist equipment and instrumentation with an extra $1.4 million earmarked for further purchases to help NIOA target the LAND 159 Tranche 2 program.

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The recent improvements follow an investment valued at $11 million to develop a co-working space between the company and Commonwealth staff at the Brisbane company headquarters.

“The T&E capability going forward will require best of class equipment operated and analysed by homegrown industry subject matter experts,” Rudi Bekker, general manager of engineering at NIOA, said.

“For Stage 1 of Tranche 1 we invested more than a million dollars in equipment purchases.

“We’ve additionally invested in the upskilling of our technical team during this period with training provided in areas systems engineering, video data analysis, weapons design and laser safety.”

If successful, NIOA has pledged to develop a $50 million small arms factory in Brisbane, Lithgow or Benalla.

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Last week, the company has onboarded two new weapons engineers to help accelerate its push for the next tranche of the LAND 159 project.

NIOA has announced the additions of Jason Jonker and Carl Norton to its Lithgow-based engineering team.

Jonker joins NIOA from Thales, where he served for approximately 17 years across a number of senior design roles.

His work included supporting the delivery of the EF88/F90 rifle to the ADF under the LAND 125 Phase 3C program.

Norton also makes the switch to NIOA from Thales, where he most recently served as mechanical engineering technician.

He holds experiences across product design and development and has supported key defence innovation projects.

The new appointees join senior engineer Richard Basladynski, who since his appointment in 2020, has delivered small arms and weapons projects from design and testing through to manufacture.

“As well as their personal qualities, Richard, Jason and Carl bring extensive skills and knowledge in small arms development and will further strengthen our industry-leading engineering team,” Bekker said.

The bolstered engineering team is expected to support NIOA’s bid for the next tranche of the LAND 159 Lethality Systems Program, which includes the delivery of a range of assault rifles and machine guns.

[Related: NIOA unveils plan to develop local gun factory]

NIOA reveals improved small arms testing facility ahead of LAND 159 Tranche 2
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