Manufacturing News

Thales to make better and more lethal rifle under $8m upgrade program

Thales Australia will receive funding under a $8m federal government upgrade program to improve firing capabilities of the F88 Austeyr rifle which is manufactured at the company’s NSW Lithgow Arms Factory.

The upgrade will see Thales produce a lighter weight and better balanced F88 Austeyr rifle which is used by Australian troops based in different environments, including deserts and mountains tops. The F88 Austeyr rifle is being used by Australian troops in Afghanistan.

According to a report by Adelaide Now, the new F88 Austeyr rifle will be fitted with NATO standard Picatinny rails which will allow upgraded versions to be fitted with sensors, illuminators, sights and aiming devices, such as thermal imaging optics.

It will also be fitted with an integrated grenade launcher attachment and sight, which willmake it more efficient for use on the battlefield, the report states.

The upgrade program is designed to produce a qualified rifle design ready for production. The funding is part of the $448.6m Project Land 125 army upgrade program.

Thales’ Soldier System Centre, located at its Lithgow plant, has been manufacturing weapons and ammunition for the Australian Defence Force since 1912.

This year saw Thales produce its 800th Thales Bushmaster vehicle.

The 800th vehicle rolled off the company’s Bendigo factory production line in July. The company would have built 838 Bushmasters in Bendigo for the federal government once it delivers the 101 new vehicles the government ordered earlier this year.

Total purchase cost of the 101 Bushmasters is valued at $133m.


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