Home' Asia Pacific Defence Reporter : APDR Dec13/Jan14 Contents Asia Pacific Defence Reporter Dec - jAn 2014 13
our extensive expertise in operating the Benalla and
Mulwala facilities, the result is a compelling offer well
suited to retaining the long-term operation of the
“We welcome the conclusion of the Strategic
Agreement for Munitions Supply (SAMS) and the
Mulwala Agreement (MA). They have served a purpose
the rationalisation, modernisation and privatisation
of a key industry – but it’s time to move to a more
“Australian Munitions has invested a lot in
developing our explosive ordnance manufacturing
capability, and the results are bearing fruit. We have
exported propellant from Mulwala to the US for over
25 years, and gained significant market share there
through continuing product innovation and technical
“Now we are expanding on that success by
launching a range of ammunition in the US, which
comprises cartridges manufactured at Benalla and
propellant from Mulwala. This ‘Australian Outback’
range is selling well, leading to increased activity at the
facilities and a growing non-defence business.
“People don’t realise that already at Mulwala,
non-defence sales far outstrip ADF orders. More
than 70% of product sales at the site are non-ADF,
with a large portion of that being export. We have a
significant R&D capability, particularly in developing
cutting-edge new propellants for the market.
“A core propellant technology strength is ‘Ballistic
performance does not vary significantly in hot or cold
conditions. These benefits appeal to many customers
for example, one propellant is specified in a US
Special Forces sniper program.
“At Benalla, non-ADF product sales account for
close to 30% of total product sales, and we are
working to increase non-ADF growth. We recently
invested more than $5 million in establishing a new
7.62mm manufacturing line for defence small arms
ammunition, which is also producing the ‘Australian
Outback’ civil range.
“It’s been a record year at Benalla, with more
ammunition produced for non-ADF customers than
ever before. Benalla and Mulwala have been operating
at capacity for small arms ammunition and propellant
in a build to stock model made possible by close
cooperation with the Defence contract management
team and site management, leading to better non-ADF
exploitation of the sites.
“We are also developing several programs targeting
an even greater increase in non-ADF sales through the
effective commercial utilisation of areas such as the
high explosive precincts.
“All this demonstrates Australian Munitions is well
placed to work with Defence to grow explosive
ordnance manufacturing in Australia, while providing
superior service to the ADF.
“And that’s just our local activities – our company’s
global reach and that of our partners brings even
“In recent years we’ve signed strategic partnerships
with US-based General Dynamics Ordnance &
Tactical Systems (GD-OTS), Winchester Australia,
and renowned European company Nammo.
“Combined with Thales’s global businesses, this
team delivers greater breadth and depth in munitions
capabilities than any other consortium – simple as that.
“Australian Munitions is part of a $1 billion ordnance
business within Thales globally. The company has
businesses in the UK, France, Belgium and Germany,
including TDA Armaments (which delivers 120mm
mortar systems and ammunition with our partner GD-
OTS to the US Marines); Thales Advanced Weapon
Systems; Thales Missile Electronics; a 45% stake in
fuses specialist Junghans Microtec; and Forges de
Zeebrugge (FZ) (supplier of 2.75 inch rockets for the
ADF’s ARH Tiger helicopter).
“GD-OTS is a world leader in the manufacture of
large, medium and small calibre direct and indirect-fire
munitions, shaped charge warheads and propellants.
Australian Munitions and GD-OTS, as a team, are
without peer in global propellant capabilities and
technology – ball, extruded or hybrid.
“Winchester Australia has a manufacturing and
distribution facility in Geelong, Victoria, and has been
a supplier of ammunition and firearms to Defence and
law enforcement agencies in Australia since 1967.
Winchester, its parent, has an unrivalled pedigree in
the supply of ammunition to the civilian market and
is currently second source supplier for small calibre
ammunition to the US military.
“Nammo is an international defence group
specializing in the design and production of ammunition
products, shoulder fired weapon systems, missile
and space propulsion systems, and demilitarization
“Australian Munitions is continuing to grow its
strong relationships with these strategic partners. As
an example, we are working closely with GD-OTS’
Valleyfield facility in Canada, which is the sister factory
to Mulwala, in extruded propellant technology.
“Combined with our strategic partners, we have a
very wide range and depth of products, representing
an unrivalled offer in critical munitions capabilities
backed up by strong and demonstrated safety systems
and engineering know-how. We are determined to
provide the very best support to the ADF for the
manufacture and management of explosive ordnance
well into the future.”
All of the bidders remain confident that they will be
able to submit satisfactory responses to the RFT.
There are continuing concerns about whether the
Defence will be able to meet its own schedule –
and also whether the Commonwealth might have
unrealistically high expectations of what the business
is worth. On the other hand, there is a minority view
in Defence that Australia could survive without local
facilities and move to a system of importing all of the
5.56mm Australian ammunition.
5/12/13 6:42 PM
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