Lithgow manufacturer wins $100m contract to make small arms for ADF


Thales Australia’s facility in Lithgow has been awarded a $100 million contract to continue to manufacture small arms for the Australian Defence Force (ADF).

Image credit: Thales Australia website

The new contract is regarded as a vote of confidence in the region’s manufacturing sector and is set to result in 10 new jobs at the factory.  The Lithgow factory in New South Wales currently employs 140 personnel.

Thales Australia will manufacture the enhanced F88 rifle which has been used by the ADF since 1988. Since being introduced into service, the rifle has undergone refurbishments which have gradually enhanced the F88 capability over the past decade.

“This approval improves the ADF’s close combat and general combat capability by upgrading the ergonomics and balance of the rifle and increasing the mounting options for ancillary devices, such as optic sights, laser aiming devices and grenade launcher attachments,” said Australian Minister for Defence the Honourable Kevin Andrews.

“This enables personnel to more effectively identify and engage targets with improved precision and discrimination, and enables ADF personnel to operate more safely and effectively on the battlefield.”

The contract is the result of the second pass approval for project LAND 125 Phase 3C – Soldier Enhancement Version 2 – Lethality.

The LAND 125 Phase 3C project is valued at $467 million, while the enhanced F88 rifle contract is valued at $100 million.