Thales has added a A$1.8m ($1.25m) honing machine to the rifle production line at its Lithgow Arms site in New South Wales (NSW) in Australia.

With the commissioning of the new machine, Thales’s investment at the facility has increased to more than A$30m ($20.93m) in plant and equipment since 2006.

The company noted that continuing investment will help maintain the country’s industrial capability in research, design, development and manufacturing of small arms.

Speaking at the new equipment launch ceremony, Member for Bathurst Paul Toole said: “I am delighted that more than 200 of Lithgow Arms’s suppliers are located in NSW, and over the last three years these suppliers have received almost A$20m ($13.95m) in orders from Thales.

“Since 1912, the Lithgow Small Arms Factory has proudly supported Australia’s soldiers on battlefields around the world.”

Thales is focused on strengthening manufacturing capabilities that can be integrated with digital technologies to support the Australian Defence Force (ADF).

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By GlobalData

Lithgow Arms develops the EF88 rifles and other weapons for the ADF.

Thales soldier weapons systems director Graham Evenden said: “Today’s unveiling shows our intent to build on Lithgow Arms’ distinguished heritage to develop and manufacture the next-generation soldier weapons systems for the future Australian Defence Force.”

Toole wrote on Facebook that the machine comes ‘all the way from Germany and is the first piece of equipment of its type to be commissioned in the world’.