Rheinmetall NIOA Munitions (RNM) has been awarded a contract by the Joint Strike Fighter program to produce 25mm ammunition as a second-source supplier for the F-35A Lightning II’s four-barrel GAU-22/A cannon.
The 25mm Frangible Armoured Piercing (FAP) projectiles will be manufactured at a government-owned facility at Benalla in Victoria, and will be available for use by all F-35A operators. RNM is a joint-venture between the multinational Rheinmetall Waffe Munitions, and the Australian-owned NIOA.
“We are totally committed to this joint venture and the Australian market,” RNM chairman Werner Kraemer said in a statement. “By committing to develop this medium-calibre production capability here in Australia, we will not only create local jobs and build a supply chain, we will also be developing a proven and sustainable export market.”
NIOA managing director Robert Nioa added that the Benalla project would enable development of a true sovereign capability in medium-calibre munitions in Australia. “The establishment of this new capability at Benalla is a first for Australian industry,” he said. “On the back of a 100 percent private sector investment, we will ensure that future munitions supplied to the ADF will be made right here in Australia.”
The 25mm production line is scheduled to be completed in early 2021 and be at full production by September 2021.