Thales expands operations into producing pistol ammo

Firearms giant Thales has moved into pistol ammunition manufacturing, which will increase output and mean extra jobs at its regional factory in Benalla.

The facility in the north-eastern Victorian town has recently taken on an automated machine which has started yielding pistol ammunition on its production line.

Having obtained the appliance from the NSW Police, Thales has splashed out a hefty $1million on an upgrade which will enhance the ability to pump out pistol ammo.

Bosses at the Thales plant reckon the remodelled process could see 10 million rounds of ammunition produced annually. And with the additional workload, a minimum of five operators will be needed for shifts to oversee the operation of the machine.

Thales Australia already enjoys an excellent reputation and this expansion will take the company into fresh territory. As part of the Thales global armaments business line, it is the nation’s biggest supplier of explosive ordnance to the Australian Defence Force, with a long-running link of providing ammunition, propellants, explosives and related services.

“Thales has invested more than $1million in pistol ammunition production capability, supporting Australian Police Forces and generating jobs and economic benefit for the economy,” said a spokesperson for the firm.

“This significant investment builds Australia’s sovereign capability in ammunition production while ensuring the unique requirements of Australia’s Police Forces are met.”

The .40 S&W, which is primarily for law enforcement, is the first pistol calibre in the range which will include operational and training rounds (and lead-free rounds). Production of 9mm ammunition is scheduled to start in 2019.

There could be scope to bolster Thales’ export drive which already extends to almost 20 countries. Thales’ manufacturing operations in Australia are housed at two regional sites. Mulwala in New South Wales deals in high-quality propellants and explosives while the Benalla connection manufactures ammunition, explosive ordnance and other munitions.

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