Thales Lithgow wins $100m tender for new ADF rifles

Thales will reportedly hire approximately ten new workers at Lithgow, following a $100 million contract for continuing to provide F-88 rifles to the Australian Defence Force.

The ABC reports that the company’s Lithgow factory won a tender to produce the Austeyr rifles, which have been used by the ADF since 1988. 

The Australian Manufacturing Workers Union’s Tim Ayres said the hires could absorb some of the job losses in mining and energy suffered in the region, depending on the skills being needed by Thales.

"It's a very important positive signal in the central west against a backdrop where there's been a retreat of investment in blue collar jobs and manufacturing work," he told the ABC, citing the winding down of operations at Electrolux in Orange.

Around 140 are currently employed at the Lithgow site, which celebrated its centenary in 2012.

Australian Defence Magazine reports that the contract for manufacture and heavy grade repair of the rifles is part of the LAND 125 Phase 3C project.

 It includes the Austeyrs as well as advanced ancillary devices and is valued at around $467 million altogether.



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