Government approves contract to maintain ADF small arms manufacturing in Australia
The Australian Government has given second pass approval for project LAND 125 Phase 3C – Soldier Enhancement Version 2 – Lethality.
This project provides the Australian Defence Force (ADF) with a new Austeyr F88 rifle (the enhanced F88) and advanced ancillary devices to improve effectiveness for soldiers involved in close combat and their immediate support elements.
The ADF has used the F88 rifle since 1988. Since being introduced into service, the rifle has undergone refurbishments which have gradually enhanced the F88 capability over the past decade.
This approval improves the ADF’s close combat and general combat capability by upgrading the ergonomics and balance of the rifle and increasing the mounting options for ancillary devices, such as optic sights, laser aiming devices and grenade launcher attachments.
This enables personnel to more effectively identify and engage targets with improved precision and discrimination, and enables ADF personnel to operate more safely and effectively on the battlefield.
Thales Australia has designed and will produce the enhanced F88 rifle that will be manufactured and receive heavy grade repair at a facility in Lithgow New South Wales. Maintaining a small arms manufacturing capability in Australia, the Lithgow factory currently employs 140 personnel.
The LAND 125 Phase 3C project value is approximately $467m with the enhanced F88 rifle contract value estimated to be approximately $100m. The signing of this contract will result in 10 direct manufacturing positions being created and the Australian Industry Content is estimated at approximately 90%.