Australian Defence Force Lethality Systems Selected

Combat Shotgun System - The Benelli M3A1
Combat Shotgun System - The Benelli M3A1

One of the Australian Defence Force’s LAND 159 Tranche 1 programs includes the acquisition of “Lethality Systems”.

These reflect procurement of a number of individual systems to fill specific close combat roles within the modernized Force. On 30 September 2022 Major General Bottrell, Head of Land Systems announced the Queensland-based company NIOA has been selected to manage the procurement and support through selected vendors of new sniper rifles, pistols, shotguns, personal defence weapons, optics, fighting knives, and an assault breaching system. The multi-million-dollar contract will direct acquisitions by NIOA that will take place beginning in 2023.

Since 2020 NIOA’s weapons and munitions specialists working alongside the Commonwealth project team, evaluated 649 candidate products for the eleven mission roles before making its final recommendations.  The new weapons systems now identified by the ADF to be acquired include:

  • Double-Edged Fighting Knife by Australia’s ZU Bladeworx 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.
  • Sidearm Weapon – The SIG Sauer P320 XCarry Pro replacing the venerable Browning Mk3 pistol. It will be complemented with reflex sights, and a white light illuminator.
Sidearm Weapon - The SIG Sauer P320
Sidearm Weapon – The SIG Sauer P320.
  • Combat Shotgun System – The Benelli M3A1 capable of semi-automatic or pump-action mode, it is complemented with a red dot sight and white light illuminator.
  • Personal Defense Weapon – The SIG Sauer MCX .300 Blackout calibre to provide dismounted combatants with a light, modular, and compact weapon system that can be rapidly optimised for specialised roles.
Personal Defense Weapon - The SIG Sauer MCX .300 Blackout calibre.
Personal Defense Weapon – The SIG Sauer MCX .300 Blackout calibre.
  • Long Range Sniper Capability – The Accuracy International AX-SR – as a multi-calibre system capable of delivering in .338 Lapua Magnum, .300 Norma Magnum and 7.62mm NATO calibres.
Long Range Sniper Capability - The Accuracy International AX-SR
Long Range Sniper Capability – The Accuracy International AX-SR.
  • Sniper Surveillance Capability – Safran JIM Compact multispectral surveillance device and Steiner laser range-finding binoculars to provide sniper team surveillance
  • Anti-Material Sniper Capability – Barrett Firearms M107A1 rifle a lighter, modernised and suppressed derivative of the in-service weapon, provided with precision optics, night vision, and ranger-finding devices.

Gen Bottrell stated “The collaboration between Defence and industry means we will acquire the best available weapon systems for our troops.”

by Stephen W. Miller