NIOA to make and export F-35 ammunition

Medium calibre munitions for the F35 lightning fighter aircraft will be produced in Australia and exported to allies including the United States following an announcement by the Rheinmetall NIOA Munitions (RNM) joint venture.

The venture, between Australian-owned NIOA and Germany’s Rheinmetall, will install a new production line at the government-owned munitions plant in Benalla to make 25mm Frangible Armored Piercing (FAP) projectiles (below).

The pair already make artillery shells at a $60 million forging plant recently completed in Maryborough, Queensland.

The new investment in Benalla, which also houses ammunition manufacturing facilities operated by French group Thales, is subject to federal government approval.

It will be fully funded by the two companies.

RNM Chairman Werner Kraemer said his company was totally committed to the Australian market.

Kraemer said: “By committing to develop this medium-calibre production capability here in Australia, we will not only create local jobs and build a supply chain, we will also be developing a proven and sustainable export market,”

When it opens in 2021, the Benalla facility will serve as a second source of supply for the US F-35 fleet, and be available to supply other users of the aircraft.

The new production line will be capable of producing munitions from 20mm to 35mm.

Pictures: Lockheed Martin/Rheinmetall

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