The Lightforce Group’s defence arm Force Ordnance has established a versatile and multifaceted testing and firing range that is meeting an unmet need for timely and uncomplicated access to military-grade testing facilities in Australia. The Klondyke Range Complex is situated on Klondyke Station in rural New South Wales and is 800km’s north of Sydney on approximately one million acres of uninhabited land. It can accommodate a diverse range of testing and live firing capability, from small arms to 120mm cannons, within the same complex.
Lightforce Group owner and founder Dr. Ray Dennis said there is no other range like it in Australia. “Klondyke is exceptional not just because of its diversity and versatility but because of the unique shape of some of its templates which offer a more practical, realistic and secure setting for advanced testing,” said Dennis.
Klondyke’s five ranges include a 360-degree sniper range set around a hilltop as well as a 270 degree 12.7mm (50 cal) range spanning seven kilometres and allowing for multi-directional shooting. Two of the ranges are long distance configurations and can accommodate up to 120mm cannons. The range offers comfortable onsite accommodation with all of the contemporary amenities whilst there is overflow accommodation for larger groups on adjoining properties also owned by Lightforce Group.
The Australian Defence Force and several private Australian defence companies, including EOS and W&E Platt, are among those who have used the facility. EOS has tested a broad range of its remote weapons stations at Klondyke, from the light R150 gimbal capable of operating the 12.7mm heavy machine gun, to the R800S heavy duty system that mounts the Bushmaster Mk44/XM813 30x173mm cannon.
EOS Vice President for Business Development Justin Olde said that the range fulfils an unmet need in the Australian market. “The Klondyke Range is truly a game-changer for Australian defence live-fire test and development capability,” said Olde. “Until now, the only way we could test and develop systems in Australia was to have a defence contract providing access to ADF ranges or to use small calibre civilian ranges, which are usually not suitable. A range like Klondyke that offers in excess of three kilometres is truly unique.”
Defence and law enforcement organisations, in particular private companies, have until now had limited access to military grade facilities, often facing extensive wait times. Klondyke addresses this by introducing a facility of the highest standard in a fee for hire arrangement to help advance Australia’s sovereign defence capability.
The Klondyke licenced testing range has been used for several years by Lightforce Group companies such as Ace Precision Rifle Systems for the development and testing of a variety of its firearms and related products and was recently expanded to meet the increasing demands of the Australian Defence Force and private companies involved in defence contracts. “We have attracted significant interest on account of our unique configurations and we have evolved, and will continue to evolve, to meet defence sector needs,” added Dennis.