Thales to make 155mm artillery shells at Benalla


Thales Australia is on schedule to begin production of the 155mm M795 Artillery Projectile at its Benalla, Victoria manufacturing facility in early 2022.

The development closely follows Thales Australia’s recent US Department of Defense qualification of its Australian-made TNT to military specifications.

Production in Australia will include the filling of steel projectile bodies with high explosive TNT, final assembly and completion of rigorous quality inspections.

The filled projectiles will then undergo assessment to ensure they meet ADF and US military specifications.

Thales has more than a decade of export experience to the USA of Australian-manufactured propellant, with the US qualification of Australian-made TNT a critical enabler in the development of Australia’s sovereign munitions capability, according to the company.

“It is an important step in building confidence in the USA that Australia has both the security and the industrial capability to handle both guided and non-guided munitions manufacturing.”

The Australian TNT qualification follows announcements made earlier this year between Thales Australia and the US Army’s Development Command Armaments Center establishing a sovereign manufacturing capability for 155mm M795 HE projectiles in Australia.

These agreements with the US have facilitated the technology transfer to Australia of US Intellectual Property, enabling the manufacture of critical munitions products to support the ADF including substantial work already achieved establishing a sovereign manufacturing capability for BLU-126 and BLU-111 aerial ordnance.

It also provides an alternative source of TNT supply for the United States.

The 100 per cent Australian-made TNT includes toluene supplied by Australian SME Viva Energy
located in Geelong, Victoria.

General manager of Thales Australia’s sovereign Munitions business Dion Habner said: “I am immensely proud of our highly skilled Australia team who have worked for over three years, working through the rigorous certification processes that have enabled the creation of a true
sovereign manufactured munitions capability in Australia.

“This is an essential step in increasing Australia’s industrial capability in advanced manufacturing and self-reliance which is vital to delivering a capability advantage to the Australian Defence Force.”

Thales employs 3,800 directly in Australia and purchases from 1,841 Australian suppliers, 82 per cent of which are SMEs. Exports have earned $1.6 billion in the past ten years.

Picture: Thales Benalla

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