Thales Australia has been approached by Rheinmetall Defence Australia to manufacture critical weapons components for the Army’s new Boxer 8×8 combat reconnaissance vehicles.
Under the agreement, Thales began manufacturing 30mm Cannon components for Rheinmetall Defence Australia at its Lithgow facility in regional NSW, leveraging the support of 16 current and new Australian SME suppliers.
“Approximately 50% of the work will be done by these SME suppliers and the overall AIC is already over 85%,” the company said in a statement.
“First samples manufactured in Australia have already passed quality control checks by Rheinmetall Defence in Germany.”
Defence Industry Minister Melissa Price said the components manufactured at Thales’ Lithgow facility would then be assembled at Rheinmetall’s Military Vehicle Centre of Excellence in Redbank, Queensland, which officially opened in October last year.
“This contract is a great testament to the Morrison Government’s commitment to strengthening Australia’s sovereign defence industrial capability and maximising opportunities for local business in defence manufacturing,” Minister Price said.
“Australian industry will play a vital role in the delivery of the Boxer vehicles.
“Rheinmetall will use suppliers across the country to design, build, assemble, test and support the Boxer vehicles for the Army.”
Minister for Veterans’ Affairs and Defence Personnel Andrew Gee welcomed the announcement, adding that the manufacturing partnership would create about 10 new jobs and provide support for the 130 jobs already at the Lithgow site.
“The Lithgow Arms Factory is part of the fabric of the Lithgow region, and plays a key role in our national defence capability, ensuring our ADF personnel have access to world-class military weapons,” he concluded.