Thales Australia and Rheinmetall Defence have signed a contract to manufacture key components for the Rheinmetall MK 30-2 cannon capability, in support of the Australian Defence Force Land 400 program.
Thales Australia’s Lithgow facility in regional New South Wales has commenced manufacturing 30mm cannon components for Rheinmetall Defence Australia, leveraging the support of 16 current and new Australian SME suppliers.
Approximately 50 per cent of the work will be done by these SME suppliers and the overall AIC is already over 85 per cent. First samples manufactured in Australia have already passed quality control checks by Rheinmetall Defence in Germany.
Lithgow has been the home of small arms manufacturing for over a century, proudly supporting Australia’s soldiers on battlefields around the world. The new manufacturing partnership builds on this distinguished heritage, creating approximately ten new jobs and supporting 130 jobs on site.
The partnership will also look at transferring to Australia the manufacture and sustainment of a range of mounted weapons, combining Thales Australia’s deep manufacturing expertise and domestic supplier base with Rheinmetall’s world-class mounted weapons.
Through substantial technology transfer to Australia in support of a number of Defence projects. With an aim of 100 per cent Australian Industry Capability, this partnership will be a significant driver of growth in Australia’s sovereign capability, boosting investment in SMEs, R&D and delivering long-term jobs.
“Increasing Australia’s industrial capability will build Australia’s self-reliance and the capability of the broader Australian advanced manufacturing sector, which is vital to delivering a capability advantage to the Australian Defence Force,” Thales Australia chief executive officer Chris Jenkins said.
Thales Australia has built a national industrial ecosystem to support the delivery of capability to the Australian Defence Force. In 2020 alone, Thales Australia spent $657 million with 1,841 Australian firms, 82 per cent of which were SMEs.
Thales Australia’s recent supply chain analysis with Accenture demonstrated that there is a substantial economic benefit from domestic defence spending, delivering thousands of jobs through hundreds of businesses across the nation.
“This contract is a great testament to the Morrison government’s commitment to strengthening Australia’s sovereign defence industrial capability and maximising opportunities for local business in defence manufacturing,” minister for Defence Industry Melissa Price said.
“Australian industry will play a vital role in the delivery of the Boxer vehicles. Rheinmetall will use suppliers across the country to design, build, assemble, test and support the Boxer vehicles for the Army. We are backing Aussie businesses and supporting local jobs.”