26 Januari 2012
Soldiers of the Australian Defence Force (ADF) equipped with F88 assault rifles. (photo : Defpro)
Bringing together unique Australian and Austrian expertise, Thales Australia and Steyr Mannlicher have signed an agreement to cooperate on global market opportunities. Steyr Mannlicher is the original designer of the Australian Defence Force’s F88 assault rifle, which was manufactured and subsequently developed further by Thales Australia.
Under the agreement the two companies will refresh their longstanding cooperation in military markets, with Thales Australia taking the formal lead in Australia and New Zealand. This will benefit customers by sharing R&D to drive product improvements, working towards common supply chains where appropriate, and streamlining service delivery.
Chris Jenkins, Thales Australia’s CEO, said: “This agreement represents the continuing evolution of our Soldier Systems business. Steyr Mannlicher has a long history and a global market outlook which, combined with our expertise delivering and upgrading infantry weapons, will allow us to collectively build on our vast knowledge and networks to offer streamlined, cost-effective solutions to customers.”
“Both companies employ world-class weapon designers and experts, and our combined capabilities will make this a compelling team. We have invested significantly in weapon development in Australia, and are eager to offer Australian innovations through Steyr Mannlicher to the rest of the world. The current development of the next generation weapon under the LAND 125 3C program is the most recent example of the innovative work being done at Lithgow.
”Thales Australia and Steyr Mannlicher have been working together since 1986 to deliver assault rifles, and since then have continuously improved weapon performance and enabled the integration of a wide range of third-party accessories. The SA2 currently in service demonstrates the continuing evolution of this capability.
Over the past few years, Thales Australia has built on its traditional expertise in the precision manufacturing of small arms at the Thales-owned Lithgow facility in New South Wales, to offer a wider range of services including engineering, design, procurement, logistics and project management. The company also supports a range of third-party weapons currently in use by the Australian Defence Force.