In a move toward bolstering Australia’s national defence capabilities, Thales Australia has reacted positively towards the national government’s investment in local munition manufacturing. 

This partnership shows Australia’s commitment to building a sovereign capability, a move that enhances the nation’s security infrastructure and stimulates advanced manufacturing.

The Hon Pat Conroy MP, Minister for Defence Industry, highlighted the Australian Government’s commitment to advancing munitions manufacturing within the country. He stated: “The Albanese Government’s investment in these cutting-edge technologies demonstrates we are delivering on the Defence Strategic Review’s recommendations to develop advanced munitions manufacturing in Australia.”

According to GlobalData’s “The Global Military Ammunition Market 2021–2031” report, Australia is focusing on modernising its armed forces and inducting weapons with precision strike capabilities as a deterrent for North Korea and China. Australia’s goal of modernising its armed forces by 2030 is a primary driver of demand for indigenous defence hardware and the ammunition, making it the fourth largest market in the Asia-Pacific region.

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By GlobalData

This investment is poised to impact the Mulwala and Benalla munition factories, which play a role in the country’s capacity to produce propellants, explosives, and munitions for the Australian Defence Force (ADF).

Thales Australia’s contributions include guided weapons production, propellants and explosives, solid fuel rocket motor manufacturing, and R&D and support services.

Jeff Connolly, CEO of Thales Australia and New Zealand, welcomed the investment, stating that the move would “support the significant step-change in technology development and innovation necessary to continue to grow a highly skilled workforce and create the advanced manufacturing jobs of the future.”

Thales Australia’s approach is highlighted by its 2021 investment of $6m in advanced manufacturing equipment at the Commonwealth-owned Mulwala facility in regional New South Wales. This move enables a 500% increase in the production capacity of rocket motors, a component in the manufacture of advanced guided and hypersonic weapons.

Thales Australia’s contribution to Australia’s defence extends to managing government-owned contractor-operated (GOCO) sites in Benalla, Victoria, and Mulwala, New South Wales, employing over 650 staff. These sites play a role in manufacturing munition systems for the ADF and allied forces.

Thales also supplied the Bushmaster armoured personnel carrier to the Australian Army and did so between 2004 and 2014. In total, 965 of the vehicles have been procured from Thales Australia in that time, according to GlobalData’s intelligence on the Australian defence market.