Thales Australia has procured 350 third-party thermal weapon sights for the Australian Defence Force as part of LAND 125 Phase 2B.
The company has also integrated the sights onto the F88 Austeyr rifle at the Australian Soldier Systems Development and Support Centre in Lithgow, NSW.
The contract is an example of the type of work now being carried out at the Australian Soldier Systems Development and Support Centre, where Thales is building on its traditional expertise in the precision manufacturing of small arms to offer a wider range of services including engineering, design, procurement, logistics and project management.
Thales has already supplied 310 sights to the ADF, with the remaining 40 due for delivery by July 2009. Through life support for the sights will be carried out by Thales at its facility in St Marys, NSW.
The integration work, carried out at Lithgow, involved designing and manufacturing a weapon mount to attach the sight to the F88’s Picatinny Rail. This was accomplished quickly, and in close collaboration with the Defence Materiel Organisation and the end user. Accessories such as pouches and cases were sourced from Australian companies.
The VIPIR 2, made by Qioptiq in the United Kingdom, is a compact and lightweight military standard thermal sight designed specifically for medium-range surveillance and target engagement.
VIPIR 2 utilises the latest in uncooled thermal imaging technology to provide a superior performance to weight/size ratio, while its fully ruggedised and qualified design offers image optimisation features and a 24-hour operational capability.
Ian Irving, Vice President of Land & Joint Systems at Thales Australia, said the sight procurement contract was an example of the company’s expanding capabilities in soldier systems.
“Contracts of this type demonstrate that we can now offer the DMO and ADF a wider range of soldier systems products and services. This unique Australian capability in small arms manufacturing and systems engineering places us in a good position to deliver solutions that meet and exceed the Commonwealth’s and the Army’s evolving requirements.”
David Marks, Managing Director of Qioptiq UK, stated: “The success of this contract was due to the close and open working relationship between the Qioptiq and Thales organisations. Qioptiq very much looks forward to building the existing relationship with Thales in order to support the ADF in future years”.
Qioptiq is an international leader in the design and manufacture of high-precision optical components and modules for military and commercial applications. Qioptiq has its core operations in the UK, Germany and Singapore as well as other manufacturing and sales units throughout the world. The company employs over 2,400 people and generated revenues of US$400 million in 2008.
Thales is a leading international electronics and systems group, addressing Aerospace and Space, Defence and Security markets worldwide. Thales’s leading-edge technology is supported by 22,500 R&D engineers who offer a capability unmatched in Europe to develop and deploy field-proven mission-critical information systems. Thales employs 68,000 people in 50 countries with 2008 revenues of €12.7 billion (equivalent of AUD22.1 billion).
Thales Australia is a trusted partner of the Australian Defence Force and is also present in commercial sectors ranging from air traffic management to security systems and services. Employing around 3,500 people in over 35 sites across the country, Thales Australia recorded revenues of more than AUD1 billion in 2008.