Rheinmetall will deliver the first qualification lots of 155 mm Assegai ammunition to the Australian Defence Force this year, with further partial deliveries taking place next year.
After successful qualification, Australia will procure war reserve stocks for the new ammunition. This comes after Australia in late 2017 announced the AU$100 million order of Assegai ammunition for its M777A2 howitzers.
Assegai rounds as well as fuses and propelling charges will be supplied by a team comprising NIOA, Rheinmetall Waffe Munition, Rheinmetall Denel Munition in South Africa, Nitrochemie and Junghans Defence.
Rheinmetall on 21 March said the Australian contract, awarded under its Land 17 Phase 1C.2 Future Artillery Ammunition programme, also includes several options for further five-year periods, which could bring the value up to “the triple digit million AU$ range”.
“The order represents a significant success for Rheinmetall in several respects. It will enable the Group to establish itself in coming years as Australia’s sole supplier of artillery ammunition. In addition, it is the first time a M777A2 field howitzer user nation has opted for the Assegai family. The armed forces of Canada and the United States, among other nations, also deploy the M777A2.”
Rheinmetall Denel Munition’s (RDM’s) portion of the initial contract for the qualification ammunition and war stock is approximately AU$60 million.
RDM will supply the complete family of ballistically matched Assegai projectiles with extended range, improved accuracy and increased effect, replacing Australia’s older generation ammunition. The latest technology includes the full suite of ammunition including High Explosive, V-LAP High Explosive Extended Range, visual and infrared illumination and smoke and practice rounds as well as modular charges for training.
The Australian artillery order came before the Australian government announced its intention to order Rheinmetall’s Boxer wheeled armoured vehicle last week under Australia’s Land400 Phase 2 programme. Presuming the procurement contract is awarded as planned, the order will mean over €2 billion in sales for the Düsseldorf, Germany-based tech group. A total of 211 Combat Reconnaissance Vehicles are to be built for the Australian armed forces.