Manufacturing News

Thales to expand precision manufacturing in Lithgow Arms facility

Lithgow Arms

Thales Australia will invest $6.5 million in the first phase of an industrial plan to transform its Lithgow Arms facility in NSW. This will establish a modern manufacturing integration hub to design, develop and precision manufacture next-gen weapons systems for the ADF, industrial partners and export customers. 

“Lithgow has been the home of small arms manufacturing for over a century,” Thales Australia and New Zealand vice president Land Corry Roberts said.  

“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.” 

Building on Lithgow Arms’ century-long heritage of producing small-arms and weapons systems for the Australian Defence Force, this phase will integrate both traditional precision manufacturing and digital technologies, including 3D printing, and install 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 accelerate the development of digitised small-arms and weapon system platforms. 

The new development will expand Lithgow Arms’ precision manufacturing capability to support new sovereign manufacturing partnerships for strategic ADF programs. This includes the recently announced partnership with Rheinmetall Defence Australia to manufacture key components in support of the ADF Land 400 program. 

Thales Australia’s investment in expanding Lithgow Arms demonstrates its long-term commitment to growing and maintaining an enduring, sustainable and resilient sovereign industrial capability for the Australian Defence Force in regional NSW. 

“It’s a real privilege to see our design team push the boundaries of traditional small arms solutions,” Thales Integrated Weapons and Sensors director Graham Evenden said. 

“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.” 

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. It will help secure the next generation of manufacturing and engineering skills in Lithgow and across the region. 

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