The Australian government’s objective of expanding the sovereign guided weapons capability took off today (5 May) after Thales Australia conducted a safe test firing of a sovereign rocket motor. The testing of locally designed and manufactured Jones rocket motors continues the expansion of Australia’s sovereign defence industrial and manufacturing capabilities by evaluating local rocket motor nozzle design and materials.

The Mulwala manufactured Jones rocket motor was co-designed with Southern Launch, an innovative Australian SME that provides launch services, bespoke rocket subsystems and operates the Koonibba Test Range, Australia’s first licenced launch site for overland suborbital rocket testing.

Dion Habner, managing director of Australia Munitions, said the rocket motor firing was a core risk mitigation step in a joint program with Southern Launch to expand Australia’s sovereign guided weapons manufacturing capability. “This represents a critical milestone in the return to routine rocket motor manufacturing at the Mulwala Munitions facility. In the late 1990s advanced warhead and rocket motor facilities were established at Mulwala and since then advanced warheads, military rocket motors and ignition systems have been safely manufactured on site. Every day, high explosives and propellants are produced for systems used by Australian and allied forces, including the explosive effectors for GBU-12 aerial laser-guided bombs. Testing activities are a routine part of operations in Australia’s sovereign munition manufacturing facility at Mulwala.”

Thales Australia works with more than 600 Australian suppliers and a large range of weapons systems Primes to ensure the ADF receives the locally manufactured munitions they need. Thales Australia is the nation’s largest manufacturer of munitions, propellant and military explosives and manages the government owned contractor operated (GOCO) sites in Benalla, Victoria and Mulwala, New South Wales employing over 650 skilled staff to manufacture munitions systems for the ADF and allied forces.


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