Defence manufacturer Rheinmetall NIOA Munitions’ Queensland artillery shell factory has won a major industry award.
RNM, a joint venture between Rheinmetall Waffe Munitions GmbH and Australian-owned NIOA, has been named Manufacturer of the Year at the Australian Defence Industry Awards.
RNM was also a finalist in the Exporter of the Year category, having despatched its first consignment of ammunition to Germany earlier this year.
The $90m Maryborough facility is the most advanced large calibre artillery plant of its kind in the world specialising in the 155mm projectiles which are fired out of the M777 Howitzer cannons.
At full rate production, the plant will have a workforce of up to 100 with the ability to produce up to 100,000 projectiles a year supplying the Australian Defence Force as well as allied export markets.
More than 800 people attended the black-tie Defence Connect dinner at the National Convention Centre in Canberra last Thursday night (Eds: September 21) with 144 finalists competing for honours in 29 categories across defence primes, SMEs and individuals including executives, scientists, technicians and marketers.
Rheinmetall NIOA Munitions General Manager Jeff Crabtree with the award for 2023 Defence Manufacturer of the Year; and a technician at the Maryborough-based factory works on an artillery shell which RNM is producing for the ADF and allied nations.
RNM General Manager Jeff Crabtree said the prestigious accolade recognised RNM’s role as an emerging player in the defence sector.
“We are incredibly proud,” he said. “This is recognition of an Australian-first munitions manufacturing capability, allowing regional Queensland to become an important player in the global munitions supply network.”
Rheinmetall Waffe Munitions CEO and RNM Chairman Roman Koehne said: “We congratulate Jeff and the team in Maryborough. RNM is a great example of an advanced manufacturing business that is playing a valuable role in building Australia’s defence industrial base.”
NIOA Group CEO and RNM Deputy Chairman Rob Nioa said the award acknowledged the company’s commitment to supporting defence industrial capability and skilled regional jobs, as well as its pivotal role in building national resilience.
“Before the establishment of the RNM facility there was no capability in Australia to forge 155mm or other large calibre shells,” he said. “The RNM forge has created a completely new skillset in the Australian defence industry.”
RNM has been held up as a “model example” of a genuine commitment and collaborative approach between various levels of government and industry to fast-track sovereign capability.
It was built within two years and had multi-level government backing with a $28.5m injection from the Federal Government’s Regional Growth Fund on top of $7.5m from the Queensland Government’s Jobs and Regional Growth Fund and support from the Fraser Coast Regional Council.
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