• A sniper scans the shoreline during a riverine insertion. Defence
    A sniper scans the shoreline during a riverine insertion. Defence

NIOA has won the first stage of the Land 159 Lethality Systems Project that will replace and modernise 26 weapons systems used by the ADF.

NIOA secured the first stage contract through a competitive tender process to fit out the Australian soldier of the future under an initial $7m deal announced by the Federal Government.

The project, to be delivered in three tranches over the next decade, will equip the ADF with next-generation pistols, assault rifles, machine guns, sniper rifles, direct fire support weapons and munitions.

Subject to business case approval, some of the ammunition for the program will be manufactured at the Commonwealth Government-owned Benalla plant in regional Victoria where NIOA has a co-tenancy, while project offices have been set up in Melbourne and Canberra.

Minister for Defence Industry Melissa Price congratulated NIOA on being selected for Tranche 1 of the project.

“This contract is a great outcome for an Australian company which has set a target of 100 per cent Australian industry content for this stage of the project,” Minister Price said. 

NIOA Chief Executive Officer Robert Nioa said the appointment of an Australian-owned company presented a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to support the nation’s servicemen and women while delivering genuine sovereign capability.

“For NIOA, the Land 159 program is all about the next generation in every way,” Nioa said. “The next generation of weapon systems, the next generation of Australia’s defence industry and, most importantly, the next generation of the ADF."

“The benefits of this program are expected to reverberate through the whole economy for decades to come,” he said. “This is the largest ever small arms replenishment program for the ADF and NIOA is very proud to be selected after a competitive tender process.

“Australian industry participation and collaboration is embedded in our strategy. What that means is that for the life of the program the ownership, the intellectual property, the jobs, the skills, the investment, the profits and the control will remain within Australia.”

The Benalla project is part of a $130m capital investment in domestic munitions and explosives manufacturing by NIOA over the next five years, including a $60m artillery shell forging plant in Maryborough (with Joint-venture partner Rheinmetall Waffe Munitions), that will create 100 jobs when it is operational in 2022.

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