The Australian Department of Defence (DoD) has announced the signing of two separate agreements with Thales Australia and NIOA Munitions in order to support the production of munitions for the Australian Defence Force (ADF) over the coming decade.
The deals – announced 29 June – are centred on facilitating work at government-owned munitions manufacturing sites at Benalla, Victoria, and Mulwala, New South Wales.
According to the DoD, its 10-year deal with Thales allows for the company’s “continued management and operation” of the two sites. It said the arrangement, which continues Thales Australia’s 20-year munitions partnership with the ADF, is worth about Australian Dollars (AUD) 1.1 billion (USD755 million).
Thales added that the agreement – dubbed a ‘Strategic Domestic Munitions Manufacturing’ (SDMM) contract – will enable the company to bid for “export and non-ADF orders” worth more than AUD450 million over the coming decade.
The DoD said its new 10-year arrangement with NIOA supports the company’s tenancy at the Benalla site. NIOA’s initial project at the facility is its production of 84 mm ammunition for Saab’s Carl Gustav recoiless anti-tank rifles, which are operated by the ADF.
Through a joint venture with Rheinmetall, NIOA is also currently developing a munitions facility in Queensland. The facility, which will specialise in 155 mm calibre munitions, is scheduled to be fully operational by 2022.
Thales told Janes.com that under the SDMM deal it will manufacture at Benalla and Mulwala rounds including 5.56 mm, 7.62 mm, .50 cal, 20 mm, and 5-inch shells along with propellant and explosives.