NIOA, L3Harris partner to bring rocket motor, warhead manufacturing to Australia

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Aerojet Rocketdyne, an L3Harris Technologies Company, VP of Strategy Andrew Crickenberger and NIOA Australia-NZ CEO Ben James ink the two companies’ collaboration agreement ahead of INDO PACIFIC 2023 in Sydney. Image credit: NIOA

Australian defence company NIOA has teamed up with Aerojet Rocketdyne, an L3Harris Technologies company, to explore the manufacturing of critical guided weapons components in Australia. 

The strategic agreement comes prior to the future assembly and manufacture of rocket motors, boosters, and warheads for munitions within the Aerojet Rocketdyne portfolio. 

The portfolio covers the wide range of weapons within Australia’s sovereign Guided Weapons and Explosive Ordnance (GWEO) Enterprise 

“As part of a world-leading technology company, Aerojet Rocketdyne is pleased to embark on this project to bring rocket motor and warhead manufacturing to Australia,” said Ross Niebergall, president of Aerojet Rocketdyne. 

“Our company is uniquely positioned to provide the intellectual property for a wide range of propulsion systems used by the Commonwealth. Growing our capability in Australia will provide opportunities for Australian companies to contribute to the global supply chain for guided weapons,” Niebergall added. 

Robert Nioa, CEO of NIOA Group, said the strategic partnership aims to address critical munitions priorities for Australia. 

Nioa said the company aims to create a multi-user rocket motor facility that will support NIOA’s portfolio while having the capacity and flexibility to support future strategic partners to meet the guided weapon demands as identified by the Australian Defence Force, as well as adjacent industry sectors like space. 

“This logical grouping of the main elements of the rocket motor, warhead and booster supply chains can deliver economies of scale that will maintain the production volumes needed to sustain critical skillsets. Forward-deployed logistics and co-production initiatives in the Indo-Pacific region with Australia’s close allies are central to our model. This facility will also boost regional employment and will provide substantial opportunities for local companies to get involved in the supply chain,” Nioa said. 

The Australian government’s Defence Strategic Review, released in early 2023, zeroed in on the rapid establishment of a domestic GWEO manufacturing capability. 

The government responded by committing $2.5 billion to accelerate a sovereign industry to improve the Australian Defence Force’s self-reliance and the nation’s export capacity.