NIOA has confirmed an extended partnership with Defence which it says will “future proof” supply surety of advanced artillery rounds for the Australian Army.
At a time of unprecedented worldwide demand for 155mm ammunition, the Australian-owned Defence prime has locked in another five-year term to supply the Assegai suite of munitions under the LAND 17-1C.2 Future Artillery Ammunition (FAA) program.
The modular Assegai ammunition system of projectiles, propelling charges, fuzes and primers can be configured in many ways to increase lethality and range for training and operational purposes.
Over the past five years, NIOA and supply partners JUNGHANS Microtec GmbH, Nitrochemie Aschau GmbH and Rheinmetall Denel Munitions have worked in close collaboration with Defence to deliver and integrate this artillery system into the Army’s M777A2 howitzers and are preparing for integration into K9 Protected Mobile Fires platforms.
Projectile variants include conventional HE, Insensitive Munition High Explosive (IHE), IHE Pre-Fragmented (PFF), screening smoke, illumination (infrared and visual), base-bleed and Extended Range Velocity Enhance (V-LAP), practice and inert projectiles.
A key recommendation of the recent Defence Strategic Review (DSR) was to accelerate and shore up supply of critical munitions and projectiles which have been included in a $2.5b investment in Guided Weapons and Explosive Ordnance (GWEO).
Reliable sources such as the joint venture Rheinmetall NIOA Munitions (RNM) shell forging factory in Maryborough, Queensland, which recently shipped its first consignment of export 155mm shells to Germany, are likely to become more critical.
NIOA Australia and New Zealand CEO Ben James welcomed the LAND 17-1C.2 deed extension, saying the new partnership would capitalise on a highly successful LAND 17 Program and a key period for ADF capability.
“The LAND 17 FAA program will deliver a step change in reach, coverage and flexibility for the ADF’s artillery capability,” he said.
“NIOA welcomes this significant deed extension and looks forward to working with Defence to deliver against accelerated preparedness objectives.
“The DSR identified the need to rapidly acquire additional ammunition stocks from existing suppliers and contractors and rapidly establish a domestic GWEO manufacturing capability.
“This LAND 17 deed extension provides the opportunity for NIOA to deliver on both of these objectives for Government and for the ADF.”