@AVNHQ Business Bulletin, 10 May 2021
By Leo D’Angelo Fisher
Guided weapons capability reaches sky high Small businesses promote defence products and services to the world South-east Queensland company wins $30 million defence contract
Guided weapons capability reaches sky high
In a major boost to Australia’s guided weapons manufacturing capability, Thales Australia has conducted a safe test firing of a locally manufactured rocket motor.
The rocket motor firing took place on May 5 at the Koonibba Test Range, 40 kilometres north-west of Ceduna on the west coast of South Australia’s Eyre Peninsula.
The rocket motor is manufactured by Australian Munitions, a Thales business, in Mulwala, in the Riverina region of NSW. It was co-designed with Southern Launch, the Adelaide company that operates the Koonibba Test Range.
Dion Habner, managing director of Australian Munitions, says the rocket motor firing represents a critical milestone in the expansion of Australia’s guided weapons manufacturing capability.
“In the late 1990s advanced warhead and rocket motor facilities were established at Mulwala and since then advanced warheads, military rocket motors and ignition systems have been safely manufactured on site,” Habner says.
The Mulwala facility produces high explosives and propellants for systems used by Australian and allied forces.
In March the Australian government granted Southern Launch the first ever licence for an Australian space launch facility for its Koonibba Test Range.
Unlike South Australia’s Woomera Test Range, which has been operating since the 1950s and is managed by the RAAF and is almost exclusively used for Australian Defence Force activity, the Koonibba range is permitted to host private satellite operators and rocket manufacturers to test their space technologies. The Woomera Test Range, along with the Nurrungar Test Range, is part of the Woomera Range Complex.
Small businesses promote defence products and services to the world
The number of defence-related small businesses in this year’s Australian Defence Sales Catalogue has surged by 25% over the past 12 months.
The fifth edition of the catalogue showcases leading-edge defence products, technologies and services available for export.
A total of 214 Australian small businesses are featured in this year’s catalogue, a 25% increase from the previous edition.
The catalogue is aimed at foreign governments but also includes information on Australian government support services available to Australian defence-related businesses wanting to pursue export opportunities. This includes information on Defence Export Controls, the Australian Defence Export Office, the Centre for Defence Industry Capability, Team Defence Australia, Export Finance Australia and Austrade.
The catalogue also includes surplus Australian Defence Force equipment and platforms that will shortly be coming out of service.
South-east Queensland company wins $30 million defence contract
Queensland bulk liquid storage manufacturer Holmwood Highgate has signed a $30 million contract with Rheinmetall MAN Military Vehicles to deliver fuel and water modules that will be fitted to the Australian Defence Force’s fleet of logistics trucks.
Holmwood Highgate has previously secured $108 million in contracts for the support of Phase 3B of the ADF’s Land 121 Program. The new contract will support new modules for additional trucks being delivered under Land 121 Phase 5B.
The company employs 150 people at its Loganholme manufacturing plant – located between Brisbane and the Gold Coast – including aluminium welders, boilermakers, fitter welders, spray painters, mechanics and auto electricians. The company also has a manufacturing and service facility in the Melbourne suburb of Derrimut, where it employs 100 people.
Land 121 is a multi-phased project providing the ADF with high-capability field vehicles, modules and trailers. Some 7500 protected and unprotected vehicles providing battlefield mobility, logistics support and tactical training will be procured. The Land 121 Unit Sustainment Facilities project will support the delivery of vehicles with new or upgraded facilities at eight Defence establishments nationally. These facilities will improve the maintenance, support and ongoing operation of the new vehicle capability.
Leo D'Angelo Fisher is a regular columnist and Editor-at-Large at Australian Veteran News. Connect with him on Twitter: @DAngeloFisher.