Home Asia Pacific Thales Australia ramps up preparations for local artillery projectile production

Thales Australia ramps up preparations for local artillery projectile production

M777A2 towed lightweight howitzer
A 155mm M777A2 towed lightweight howitzer fires during an exercise in 2017. Photo: Australian Army

After Thales Australia recently obtained US Department of Defense qualification for its Australian-made TNT to military specifications, the company continues work on preparing for the local production of the 155mm M795 artillery projectile capability in early 2022.

Production in Australia of the 155mm M795 will take place in Benalla, regional Victoria, and will include the filling of steel projectile bodies with high explosive TNT, final assembly and completion of quality inspections. The filled projectiles will undergo assessment to ensure they meet ADF and US military specifications.

Building upon more than a decade of exports to the USA of Australian-manufactured propellant, the US qualification of Australian-made TNT is a critical enabler in the development of Australia’s sovereign munitions capability.

The Australian TNT qualification follows announcements made earlier this year between Thales Australia and the US Army’s Development Command Armaments Center establishing a sovereign manufacturing capability for 155mm M795 HE projectiles in Australia.

These agreements with the US have facilitated the technology transfer to Australia of US intellectual property, enabling the manufacture of critical munitions products to support the ADF including substantial work already achieved establishing a sovereign manufacturing capability for BLU-126 and BLU-111 aerial ordnance.

The Australian-made TNT includes toluene supplied by Australian SME Viva Energy located in Geelong, Victoria.

“I am immensely proud of our highly skilled Australia team who have worked for over three years, working through the rigorous certification processes that have enabled the creation of a true sovereign manufactured munitions capability in Australia,” Dion Habner, general manager of Thales Australia’s sovereign munitions business said.