Thales Australia developing local munitions manufacturing capability

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Thales Australia is establishing an Australian domestic filling and manufacturing capability for a high-explosive artillery projectile as part of a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA), recently signed between the company and the US Army’s Development Command Armaments Center. 

The trial work, which is being carried out at the Australian government-owned Benalla Munitions Manufacturing facility in regional Victoria, will see Thales develop a local production capability for the 155mm M795 – the munition of choice for howitzer artillery systems in-service with both the US and the Australian armies.

Last week the company welcomed US Air Force Col. Christopher Ingleton at the Benalla facility to see the production of these rounds by Australian Munitions, a business of Thales Australia and the largest supplier of explosive ordnance to the Australian Defence Force.

Mr Ingleton – who heads the Office of Defence Cooperation located within the US Embassy in Canberra – said the kickoff of the work at Benalla marks an important milestone towards growing core industrial skills in high-explosive manufacturing and artillery projectile filling in support of the ADF.

“US cooperation with Australia on production of 155mm projectiles is a key first step as we look to expand to other ammunition and achieve mutually beneficial results that contribute to and complement each of our industrial bases and operational readiness,” he added.

ADF Brig. Gen. Haydn Kohl, the Director General for Explosive Materiel, said the collaborative work with the US is critical to expanding Australia’s industrial base for munitions.

“In the future, I see our industry partners not only supplying the ADF but also serving as a second source of supply to applicable U.S. Marine Corps and U.S Army forces regionally aligned to U.S. Indo-Pacific Command,” Mr Kohl concluded.

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