In a strategic manoeuvre to deepen its involvement in the United States Army’s Joint Centre of Excellence for ammunition and weapons, NIOA Group has secured a tenancy at Picatinny Arsenal in New Jersey. 

The Australian defence player, which recently made a 100% acquisition of Barrett Firearms, sees this move as a step towards fortifying trans-Pacific partnerships in the ever-evolving landscape of global defence.

NIOA Group CEO Robert Nioa emphasised the company’s commitment to playing a role in supplying armament to the US Army and its allies. The Picatinny Arsenal’s workforce of more than 6,000 military, government, and civilian personnel is a hub for defence collaboration. The company’s presence within this centre amplifies its intent to expand further into the US defence sector.

This move, described by Mr. Nioa as going “inside the wire” at Picatinny, signifies NIOA’s broader objective beyond the Barrett Firearms acquisition. The company aims to facilitate closer collaboration with US government agencies to expedite its contribution to global security. 

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By GlobalData

The announcement coincides with the heightened importance of trans-Pacific partnerships accentuated by the AUKUS security agreement.

NIOA’s existing ties with American companies such as General DynamicsNorthrup Grumman, and Winchester, operating within the Picatinny Arsenal, position it as a player in fostering collaborative efforts. 

The company’s advisory board members, including former Picatinny Arsenal commander Brig. Gen. (Ret) Alfred Abramson and former US Secretary of Defence for Acquisition and Sustainment, the Hon. Ellen Lord, add experience to NIOA’s strategic endeavours.

Notably, the company’s team at Picatinny comprises individuals with backgrounds in defence programmes and international collaborations. Doreen Chaplin, formerly the first assistant programme executive office ammunition, and Daniel Napolitano, previously the program manager combat ammunition systems director of international programmes, bring expertise to NIOA’s operations at Picatinny Arsenal.

NIOA Group has secured multiple ammunition contracts for the Australian Armed Forces. In a A$100m ($80.45m) deal, NIOA supplied the Australian Army with advanced 155mm lightweight towed howitzer ammunition.

Another $72.3m contract involved providing over 30 different munitions to the Australian military, ranging from small arms to 120mm M1A1 Abrams tank ammunition. Additionally, NIOA is a supplier for Rheinmetall Defence Australia’s Land 400 Phase II combat reconnaissance vehicle programme.

As calls for greater co-production, co-development, and co-sustainment of weapons echo from top US defence officials, NIOA’s Picatinny tenancy positions the company for global defence collaboration.