Australia commits to local ammunition manufacturing

Australia ammunition investment. (Australia Department of Defence)
Australia ammunition investment. (Australia Department of Defence)

The Australian Department of Defence (DoD) announced on 6 October that the government it will invest A$220 million in state-owned munitions production factories in Mulwala in New South Wales and Benalla in Victoria.

The DoD asserted that the investment will enhance local defence industrial capacity and support infrastructure redevelopments at each site to meet future demand for ammunition such as 155 mm artillery munitions.

“Improving Australia’s ability to manufacture the munitions our defence force needs is not only critical to meeting the strategic challenges we face as a nation, it will also support local industry and well-paid, skilled local jobs,” said Minister for Defence Industry Pat Conroy.

The Mulwala and Benalla munition factories are operated by Thales Australia and develop and produce propellants, explosives, and munitions for the entire Australian Defence Force (ADF). The company stated that the investment in new large-scale preparation and mixing equipment can increase the size of rocket motors manufactured at Mulwala fivefold, and support the production of advanced guided weapons and hypersonic weapons.

The DoD noted that the investment also provisions for the acquisition of new explosive mixers for the Mulwala factory, in addition to enhancements its munition manufacturing procedures including non-destructive testing.

It added that the new explosive mixers will feature Resonant Acoustic Mixing technology and will boost the production capability of munitions such as the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF)’s BLU-111(AUS) aerial bombs.

“The ability to bring the BLU-111(AUS) into operational service as an Australian manufactured munition is a significant milestone in boosting Australia’s defence industry manufacturing capability,” added Conroy.

Australia’s Defence Strategic Review (DSR), which was published in April, recommended the government to focus on manufacturing munitions in Australia, especially long-range guided weapons, as part of the DoD’s Guided Weapons and Explosive Ordnance (GWEO) Enterprise.

by Jr Ng