Following Thales Australia’s recent US Department of Defense qualification of its Australian-made TNT to military specifications, Thales is on schedule to commence production of the 155mm M795 Artillery Projectile capability in early 2022.
Production in Australia of the 155mm M795 Artillery Projectiles will take place in Benalla, regional Victoria, and will include the filling of steel projectile bodies with high explosive TNT, final assembly and completion of the rigorous quality inspections. The filled projectiles will undergo assessment to ensure they meet ADF and US military specifications.
Building upon more than a decade of exports to the USA of Australian-manufactured propellant, the US qualification of Australian-made TNT is a critical enabler in the development of Australia’s sovereign munitions capability in support of the Australian Defence Force (ADF) and our allies. It is an important step in building confidence in the USA that Australia has both the security and the industrial capability to handle both guided and non-guided munitions manufacturing.
The Australian TNT qualification follows announcements made earlier this year between Thales Australia and the US Army’s Development Command Armaments Center1 establishing a sovereign manufacturing capability for 155mm M795 HE projectiles in Australia. These agreements with the US have facilitated the technology transfer to Australia of US Intellectual Property, enabling the manufacture of critical munitions products to support the ADF including substantial work already achieved establishing a sovereign manufacturing capability for BLU-126 and BLU-111 aerial ordnance.
The 100% Australian-made TNT includes toluene supplied by Australian SME Viva Energy located in Geelong, Victoria. After undergoing almost two years of complex test and evaluation by US authorities, Thales’s US qualification attests to the high quality of the product, and provides an alternative source of TNT supply for the United States.
Dion Habner, General Manager of Thales Australia’s sovereign Munitions business said: “I am immensely proud of our highly skilled Australia team who have worked for over three years, working through the rigorous certification processes that have enabled the creation of a true sovereign manufactured munitions capability in Australia. This is an essential step in increasing Australia’s industrial capability in advanced manufacturing and self-reliance which is vital to delivering a capability advantage to the Australian Defence Force.”
For more than 30 years Thales Australia has built a national industrial ecosystem, including over 600 Australian suppliers, to support the delivery of sovereign capability to Australian Defence Force. Demonstrating that maximising technology transfer to Australia on major Defence projects is a significant driver of growth in building Australia’s sovereign industrial capability.
Thales Australia is a trusted partner of the Australian Defence Force and is also present in commercial sectors ranging from air traffic management and ground transport systems to security systems and services. Thales Australia employs around 3,800 people directly and supports over 2,051 jobs along its Australian supply chain. In 2020 Thales Australia spent $657 million with 1,841 Australia suppliers, of which 82% are SMEs. Since 2018 Thales Australia has spent over $1.9 billion with local Australian businesses.
Thales Australia has a history of patient investment to build advanced in-country capability across manufacturing, critical systems and services. Close collaborative relationships with local customers, Australian SME suppliers and research institutions combined with technology transfer from our global business enables Thales to tailor high-quality solutions for Australian and export markets, generating revenue of $1.6 billion in exports over the past 10 years.