Thales Australia to manufacturer 8,500 rifles for Defence

Defence has ordered thousands of new world-class Enhanced F88 weapon systems to be delivered by Thales Australia.

Minister for Defence, Senator the Hon Linda Reynolds CSC said the acquisition of 8,500 rifles will not only improve the overall capability of the Australian Defence Force, but will also boost the workforce in regional Australia.

“The rifles will be manufactured at the Thales Australia site in Lithgow, New South Wales which employs around 130 Australians,” Minister Reynolds said.

“This acquisition is just another example of the nationwide benefits of the Morrison Government’s unprecedented investment in defence capability, particularly in rural and regional Australia.

“It also demonstrates our ongoing commitment to building a strong and sustainable defence industry.

“This Government is doing all we can to help the Australian economy recover from COVID-19. The purchase of these additional EF88 weapon systems will provide certainty to the workforce at Lithgow and support jobs in regional Australia.”

The acquisition will allow the retirement of older weapons, reducing the cost of sustainment, maintenance and training.

Compared with previous systems, the EF88 rifle has significantly improved the capability of the soldier through improved range, accuracy, ergonomics and reduced system weight

The additional weapons, which are being delivered under the lethality element of the Soldier Modernisation Program, will enable increased access to the EF88 across the full and part-time force, particularly Army’s 2nd Division.