The federal government has given second pass approval for the LAND 125 Phase 3C Soldier Enhancement Version 2 Lethality project, which provides the Australian Defence Force (ADF) with a new Austeyr F88 rifle and advanced ancillary devices.
Thales Australia designed and will produce the enhanced F88 rifle, with manufacturing and repairs occurring in Lithgow, New South Wales. Minister for Defence Kevin Andrews said in a statement that LAND 125 Phase 3C is valued at about $467 million, with the rifle contract worth approximately $100 million.
“This approval improves the ADF’s close combat and general combat capability by upgrading the ergonomics and balance of the rifle, and increasing the mounting options for ancillary devices such as optic sights, laser aiming devices and grenade launcher attachments,” Minister Andrews said.
The factory in Lithgow currently employs 140 personnel; the signing of the contract will result in 10 direct manufacturing positions being created, he added.