Thales Australia’s Small Arms Research & Development (R&D) team in Lithgow, NSW, is about to double as it anticipates the future technology requirements of a digitised battlespace for the ADF.
With the Thales-designed and -manufactured EF88 now in service with the ADF, the R&D team is looking to make radical, innovative enhancements to future small arms capability, and is seeking a further nine engineers to join their ranks.
Director Soldier Weapons Systems at Thales, Graham Evenden said that this push for development is a direct response to drive and maximise the benefit of new manufacturing processes, novel materials and AI.
“We have some really exciting, technologically disruptive R&D projects going on right now, with a lot more on the horizon,” he said. “Working together with our industry and academic partners, we are aiming to deliver a ‘best of breed’ capability and ensure we support a robust and enduring Sovereign Industry Capability.
“These projects are creating new roles within our R&D team, in fact it will be doubling in size. And when you look at the wider industrial ecosystem, it’s creating a lot more opportunities for growth for our SME supply chain and our partners in academia.”
The Army is looking towards the future and how to best meet the challenges of the changing threat environment in order to be ‘future ready’, Mr Evenden added.
“We’ve been a trusted partner of the Australian Army since our Small Arms factory in Lithgow began manufacturing rifles in 1912, and we are investing heavily to ensure we are on the journey forwards with them.”
NSW Parliament MP for Bathurst Paul Toole said he welcomes the continuing commitment by Thales into its operations in Lithgow and jobs creation in the region.
“The fact that Thales is set to double its research and development team in Lithgow sends a clear message that Thales is here for the long term,” he said. “Thales are a good community partner and I know their projects are at the cutting edge of technology and this investment in the future means there’s exciting times ahead for the company.”
The expanded R&D team will engage closely with industry, academia, and research bodies such as DST Group and CSIRO.