Thales Australia will invest $6.5 million in the first phase of an industrial plan to transform its Lithgow Arms facility in regional New South Wales. Phase 1 of the plan will establish a modern manufacturing and integration hub for the design, development and precision manufacture of next generation weapons systems for the Australian Defence Force, industrial partners and export customers.
Building on Lithgow Arms’ distinguished, century-long heritage of producing world-leading small-arms and weapons systems for the Australian Defence Force, this phase of the new development will integrate both traditional precision manufacturing and digital technologies, including 3D printing, and the installation of automated electro-plating and other metal treatment capabilities. It will also include a new purpose-built live firing test and evaluation capability to support systems integration, and the acceleration of research and technology development of digitised small-arms and weapon system platforms.
The new development will expand the world-leading precision-manufacturing capability of Lithgow Arms to support new sovereign manufacturing partnerships for strategic ADF programs, including the recently announced partnership with Rheinmetall Defence Australia to manufacture key components for Rheinmetall in support of the Australian Defence Force Land 400 program.
Thales Australia’s investment to expand the size and capability of the Lithgow Arms facility in regional New South Wales is a clear demonstration of the company’s long-term commitment to growing and maintaining an enduring, sustainable and resilient sovereign industrial capability for the Australian Defence Force in regional New South Wales.
“Lithgow has been the home of small arms manufacturing for over a century. Transforming Australia’s manufacturing capability benefits Australia’s self-reliance and evolves the capability of the broader Australian advanced manufacturing sector, which is essential in growing local jobs, and delivering advanced capability advantage to the Australian Defence Force.”
Corry Roberts, Vice President Land, Thales Australia & New Zealand
“It’s a real privilege to see our design team push the boundaries of traditional small arms solutions. Our future systems include automated and augmented features enabled by modern networked sensors and sovereign Artificial Intelligence while the system architecture is being developed to support integration with next generation soldier systems. Our industrial plan is designed to support the manufacture, maintenance and upgrade of our future systems and seeing this first phase come to life is very rewarding for our Lithgow teams.”
Graham Evenden, Director Integrated Weapons & Sensors
The precinct will also provide facilities to enable collaboration across research institutions, SME partners, and key industrial partners to create the soldier systems and small arms of the future, and secure the next generation of manufacturing and engineering skills in Lithgow and across the Central West.
About Thales in Australia
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.