NIOA Group CEO Robert Nioa said the company’s expansion into the United States Army’s Joint Centre of Excellence for ammunition and weapons demonstrated its commitment to play a key role in armaments supply to the US Army and its allies.
Picatinny Arsenal has a workforce of more than 6000 military, government and civilian personnel. It includes key organisations such as Joint Program Executive Office Armaments and Ammunition (JPEO A&A), Project Manager Soldier Lethality and Combat Capability Development Command Armaments Center (DEVCOM-AC).
The move “inside the wire” at Picatinny signals NIOA’s intent to expand its reach in the US beyond the recent 100 per cent acquisition earlier this year of Tennessee-based Barrett Firearms. Barrett is a key supplier to the US Army and Special Operations Command, with active contracts for its MK 22 Multi-Role Adaptive Design (MRAD) precision sniper rifle, and the M107A1 .50cal semi-auto anti-material rifle.
Nioa said the tri-lateral AUKUS security agreement had underscored the growing importance of trans-Pacific partnerships between Australian defence companies and the US. This was highlighted recently by calls from Dr. William LaPlante, United States Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition and Sustainment, for greater co-production, co-development and co-sustainment of weapons with close allies.
“Picatinny Arsenal is a vital US hub for defence innovation and collaboration,” Nioa said. “This strategic expansion comes at a crucial time and demonstrates NIOA’s long-term broader objective to strengthen allied defence capabilities. By establishing a stronger presence at Picatinny, NIOA hopes to facilitate closer collaboration with US government agencies to accelerate our contribution to global security.”
As well as its ownership of Barrett, NIOA has long-standing relationships with American companies such as General Dynamics, Northrup Grumman and Winchester through their operation of the Lake City ammunition plant, each of which also have tenancies at Picatinny.
The NIOA Group’s US-based Advisory Board members include a former commander of Picatinny Arsenal, Brig. Gen. (Ret) Alfred Abramson as well as former US Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition and Sustainment Ellen Lord. NIOA’s Team at Picatinny includes Doreen Chaplin, who was previously the First Assistant Program Executive Office Ammunition and Daniel Napolitano, who was previously Program Manager Combat Ammunition Systems (CAS) Director of International Programs.