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NIOA's $50 million plan for new base as it targets a slice of ADF action

Business

Arms manufacturer NIOA will invest $50 million to build a small arms and weapons factory but has yet to determine whether it will be in Brisbane, Lithgow, NSW, or Benalla in Victoria.

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The company recently bought a property for its expansion into Lithgow which is a centre for Australia’s small arms market.

The new plant would come online in 2024, creating up to 150 jobs.

NIOA chief executive Robert Nioa said the decision to invest in a new factory showed the seriousness of its commitment to securing the
next tranche of the LAND 159 Lethality Systems Program, which includes a range of assault rifles and machine guns.

The Lethality System Project is aimed at delivering the Australian Defence Force with next-generation weapon systems, surveillance and target acquisitions ancillaries, ammunitions, facilities and training and support systems.

The first tranche of LAND 159 included the sniper system and the close combat system comprising fighting knife, pistols, shotgun and the assault breaching system while the second tranche will include the close combatant assault rifles, machine guns, direct fire support weapons and grenades.

“Today’s announcement reinforces NIOA’s commitment to build a resilient, reliable sovereign industrial defence base and modernise domestic manufacturing,’’  Nioa said.

“Small arms are core to our business, through both strong commercial market experience and as a trusted partner to defence and law enforcement agencies over many decades.

“If we are successful in securing tranche two of the LAND 159 Program, we will locate this facility in Australia to establish a sustainable small arms manufacturing capability in support of the ADF while looking at export markets.’’

He said NIOA had a proven record of delivering sovereign capability, citing the $60 million joint venture Rheinmetall NIOA Munitions (RNM) plant in Maryborough, Queensland which will soon start producing 155mm artillery shells for the ADF and export orders.

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