Australian and French defence and foreign ministers meeting in Europe have announced a new collaboration to supply 155mm calibre field gun ammunition to war torn Ukraine.
It is understood that French-owned Thales group’s Australian Munitions operation at Mulwala in New South Wales will supply the gunpowder for the manufacture of the shells which will be forged in France by Nexter.
Australian Munitions is the largest supplier of explosive ordnance to the Australian Defence Force.
In 2021 Thales committed $6 million to a major reinvestment at the Mulwala plant.
The munitions could be fired from M777 howitzers previously supplied by Australia and other nations, with the new agreement part of efforts to ramp up defence production to meet the needs of the ongoing war.
Western countries have mainly supplied Ukraine from existing stocks, however additional sources of supply are now needed as the war drags on.
At their meeting attended by foreign minister Penny Wong and defence minister Richard Marles, the ministers reiterated their unequivocal condemnation of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and called once more for Russia’s immediate withdrawal.
They said in a statement: “France and Australia expressed their shared commitment to Ukraine’s security and their strong resolve to continue to support Ukraine.
“Ministers announced their intent to provide support to Ukraine including through joint supply of 155-millimetre ammunition.
“The initiative leverages the complementarities of respective defence industries and meets Ukraine’s urgent need for 155-millimetre ammunition.”
THALES MAKES SECOND BIG INVESTMENT IN AUSTRALIAN FACTORIES
Picture: Thales Australia