The Australian Government has started the first stage of the Lethality System project’s (Land 159) Tranche 1.

It is intended to enhance the capabilities and weapon systems used by the Australian Defence Force (ADF).

Brisbane-based company NIOA has won the first stage contract worth A$7m ($4.8m) via competitive tender.

Under the contract, the company will test and assess weapon systems and provide suggestions to defence.

The contract is part of the government’s commitment to invest A$270bn ($188bn) in defence industry.

The contract will boost the local economy by generating 23 job opportunities.

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Australian Minister for Defence Linda Reynolds said: “This contract reflects this Government’s commitment to Australian industry, as outlined in the release of the Defence Strategic Update 2020.

“It also supports the Munitions and Small Arms Sovereign Industrial Capability Priority in securing domestic capability.

“There are significant opportunities for Australian suppliers to offer weapon systems including ancillaries and munitions, and services across all three tranches of the project, which will create even more Australian jobs over the years to come.”

Recently, NIOA won a ten-year contract for the tenancy at the Benalla munitions factory in Victoria with the Australian Government.

The new contract is expected to create up to 100 jobs openings.

Commenting on the latest contract, Australian Minister for Defence Industry Melissa Price said: “This contract is a great outcome for an Australian company which has set a target of 100% Australian industry content for this stage of the project.

“It demonstrates the Morrison government’s commitment to maximising Australian industry involvement across all our projects.”

In February, the Rafael Spike LR2 missile system was selected as Australia’s Long Range Direct Fire Support Weapon capability under the project.