Thales Australia is set to start construction on the first phase of an industrial plan to transform its Lithgow Arms facility, in regional New South Wales (NSW), next month.

The company noted that the industrial plan seeks to redevelop the facility into an advanced manufacturing 4.0 and integration hub.

The announcement comes after the company secured development approval to commence construction.

Under the new development, the advanced hub will be used to precision manufacture next generation, locally designed weapon systems.

These systems integrate both traditional precision manufacturing and digital technologies, such as 3D printing, as well as automated electro-plating installation and other capabilities related to metal treatment.

The development also comprises a new ‘purpose-built’ live-firing test and evaluation capability.

This capability will support systems qualification and integration.

It will also advance the research and technological development of digitised small-arms and weapon system platforms.

According to Thales, the development at Lithgow will expand the facility’s advanced, precision-manufacturing capability, to support sovereign manufacturing partnerships for key Australian Defence Force (ADF) programmes.

The development also supports the partnership with Rheinmetall Defence Australia to produce key components for Rheinmetall, in support of the ADF land 400 programme.

In November last year, Thales Australia unveiled plans to invest $6.5m to expand the precision manufacturing capability of the Lithgow Arms facility.