NIOA has welcomed its formal appointment as prime contractor for delivery of weapon systems under the Australian Defence Force’s Lethality Systems project LAND 159 Tranche 1. CEO Robert Nioa said the announcement by Head Land Systems, Major General Andrew Bottrell,in the lead up to the Land Forces 2022 Exposition which begins in Brisbane on Tuesday represented an important milestone as Tranche 1 of the Lethality Systems project entered the acquisition phase.
Tranche 1 will deliver next generation sniper and close combat capabilities to ensure Australian Defence Force ground combatants maintain a capability advantage over potential adversaries to beyond 2030.
Capabilities include new sniper systems, surveillance and target acquisition devices, pistols, shotguns, fighting knives, personal defence weapons, munitions and an assault breaching system.
New weapons systems to be acquired include:
- Australian manufacturer ZU Bladeworx’s Double-Edged Fighting Knife – selected as the basis of the ADF’s new Hand-to-Hand Fighting System. The black, double-edged fighting knife has a 100mm blade, is machined from a solid billet of A2 steel and features a non-slip handle and retention ring.
- The SIG Sauer P320 XCarry Pro – selected as the platform for the Sidearm Weapon System, which will replace the venerable Browning Mk3 pistol. It will be complemented with reflex sights, and a white light illuminator.
- The Benelli M3A1 – selected as the platform for the Combat Shotgun System. Operable in semi-automatic or pump-action mode, it is complemented with a red dot sight and white light illuminator.
- The SIG Sauer MCX, in .300 Blackout calibre – selected as the platform for the Personal Defence Weapon System, to provide dismounted combatants with a light, modular, and compact weapon system that can be rapidly optimised for specialised roles.
- The Accuracy International AX-SR – selected as the platform for the Long Range Sniper Capability. It will be introduced into ADF service as a multi-calibre system capable of delivering in .338 Lapua Magnum, .300 Norma Magnum and 7.62mm NATO calibres.
- The Sniper Surveillance Capability – selected to provide ADF snipers with a day and night capability utilising the Safran JIM Compact multispectral surveillance device and Steiner laser range-finding binoculars.
- The M107A1 rifle, manufactured by Barrett Firearms Manufacturing Incorporated, – selected as the platform for the Anti-Material Sniper Capability. The M107A1 is a lighter, modernised and suppressed derivative of the in-service weapon, and is complemented with precision optics, night vision, and ranger-finding devices.
Under the contract, NIOA will acquire the selected weapon systems, deliver supporting services for verification and validation, certification and introduction into service, and the through life support of the Tranche 1 weapon systems.
NIOA was appointed in July 2020 to conduct an approach to market and evaluation of sniper and close combat systems and to provide recommendations and cost data to support Defence decisions.
NIOA’s weapons and munitions specialists working alongside the Commonwealth project team, evaluated 649 products across weapons, ancillaries, and munitions for 11 mission systems before making its final recommendations to Defence in a 600-page report.
The transparent, collaborative and rigorous process included 800 weapons and ammunition test serials with more than 31,000 rounds fired during evaluations off site and at NIOA’s Brisbane indoor range where it invested more than $1m in new testing equipment, specifically for the LAND 159 Project.
Nioa said the company’s best of breed approach maximised industry participation to ensure Australia’s servicemen and women had the best combinations of the best equipment to complete their missions safely. “The battlefield capability increase that these next-generation weapons provide is a game-changer for our warfighters,” he said. “NIOA is proud of its role in this project. Protecting our national security means teamwork at every level – Government, Defence and industry. As an Australian-owned company we feel strongly about assisting the Commonwealth Government to meet the sovereign capability priorities of today and tomorrow.”