Australia Munitions


#1

With Corporate re-organisation by Thales (France) of its Australian Subsidiary (ADI) and complete ownership, the old ADI Corporate Name is History,( for ammo,allthough bthe Headstamp “ADI” remains in use and there are some novelties in Progress.
Courtesy of Defence Land Expo 2014 ( Sept.22-27) I was able to sight several new Australia Munitions Products…7,62 F4 Ball cases, (ADI14) 7,62 ?F62? Tracer, orange Tip, 5,56 Ball, F1( M193) and F1A1 (SS109); 5,56 Ball F9 ( High Energy composite projectile) and .50 Cal Ball. All with 2014 dates.

Cases also show a Longer Annealing signature ( Electric Induction) of a silver-grey consistency going almost Half-way down both the 7,62 and 5,56 cases. All still produced at Benalla (North Victoria) on a Mixture of “New LeChaussee” and Manurhin machinery.
the Only calibre missing is 9mm Para, which ceased in 1993; all supplies now come from WCC (Winchester) and CBC (“MagTech”) of Brazil.(usage is too small to make them here)

Manufacture of M103 20mm has also slowed down ( two years ago) with the scrapping of the F-111 ( and their respective Vulcan Cannon)…Yes, scrapped…Avionics stripped out, wings Guillotined, and Buried in a disused Open-cut Coal Mine near Brisbane…They weren’t allowed to “sell on” or even return them to the USA for the “BoneYard”…a couple have been retained for Museums (but gutted of engines, Guns, etc.). The 20mm is still offered for “Phalanx” anti-Missile High capacity Gun Turrets.

25mm Bushmaster ammo is supplied by General Dynamics (USA and Spain), with Training ammo being made at Benalla.

Go to the website “Australian Munitions” www.australian-munitions.com.au for further details.

Doc AV


#2

Was that due to UN surplus arms rules yet again?


#3

Doc AV, the Vulcan cannons were removed from these aircrafts more than 30 years ago, when the Pave Tack pods were installed.


#4

Fede, The Aussie F111 still had 20mm cannon as the shell cases (fired) were still available from Scrap dealers into the 2008 period…and Cases were “ink printed” with both MF (pre 1988) and AFF(Post 88) Makers marks ( side ink stamp). Naval (Phalanx) shell cases are ejected “over the side” and so don’t become “scrap”.

Yes, the UN Arms control bogie strikes again.

Doc AV


#5

Doc AV, I don’t understand what do you mean about the aircraft’s fired cases becoming scrap, in both systems these are not ejected anywhere but back to the ammunition drum. Anyway, I think that you are forgetting the Australian F/A-18A in service since 1984, which are also equipped with M61A1 guns. This happened about the same time the guns were removed from the F-111C (1983-85).


#6

Me Disculpe, Fede…I fouled Up…my info on the workings of Australian Navy and RAAF are not what they should be…

Doc AV


#7

But, AFTER the cases are returned by the linkless loading system into the drum, and after the aircraft lands and is downloaded by the armaments systems technicians, the “brass” then “becomes scrap” and through an assortment of national and international restrictions, processing requirements, safety inspections, etc. the metal is sold on a not so open, but still a “free” market system. The point DocAV seems to be making is that if the empty cases are pitched over the side, as he states in the various CWIS type systems, that scrapping process does NOT happen. I am not however familiar with Royal Australian Navy processing.

Anyway, my interest in this thread reminded me of an incident in the early '80s, when my EOD unit “volunteered” to support a “sister” F-111 unit in cleaning up an aircraft crash. Our assigned Wing’s F-111s had not flown the gun in several–maybe even “many”–years, so my guys were somewhat surprised at the 20mm rounds scattered about the crash site. The other unit was still flying the guns and even performing strafe missions at the range.

Taber


#8

Doc AV,

Have been away for some weeks so missed this post.
Haven’t got around to documenting the situation at Thales, but was very interested to note they have retained the use of the ADI headstamp. Do you know if they intend to retain that monogram in the future??

Cheers

John


#9

I just picked up a box of AUSTRALIAN OUTBACK brand .223. It is headstamped 223 REM ADI, and the box is marked:

Australian Outback
PO Box 840
Benalla, VIC 3671 Australia

ADI Munitions Pty Limited trading as
Australian Munitions
ABN 66 092 605 742

MADE IN AUSTRALIA

What other calibers are they making??? Their website indicates only 308 and 300 blackout. Sure hope it includes 9x19mm one of these days!

Cheers,
Lew


#10

Lew - I am sure you know this, so this answer is for the purpose of General Knowledge for those not necessarily in to 9 mm. There is ab ADI headstamp on 9 mm - I have it in my own collection. It is known to me only for the year 1992. It is pictured in your book as “AD03” on page AD03-1 of the first volume. The headstamp drawing there is very accurate.


#11

John and Lew,

Just to clarify the ADI 9mm.
The ammunition factory at Footscray was totally Government owned, prior to the sale to Thales. In the final days of Government ownership, they changed the headstamps to AFF (Ammunition Factory Footscray) then to ADI (Australian Defence Industries ). It would appear from Doc AVs comments, Thales have retained the use of the name and the headstamp monogram.

The ADI 92 9mm you refer to was the last or second last year of 9mm manufacture in Australia while it was still under Government ownership.

John


#12

Adding a little detail about ammo manufacturing in Australia.

The Defence Minister announced a 5 year extension of the 20 year LTA (long term agreement) that the Government signed with ADI back in 1994. This was done after Thales threatened to close the Benalla and Mulwala operations at the end of this year (ie at the 20 year contract expiry) . A special independent report prepared for the Government suggested retention of local ammunition manufacturing capability was important for strategic purposes. History repeating itself??

From early days before Federation the States had logical thinking people worried about reliance on overseas sources for weapons and ammunition. It took a great deal of courage and effort to set up manufacturing of ammunition here, primarily due to the stupidity of politicians. Nothing new in that, and it still goes on. We will shortly have no vehicle manufacture in Australia as Ford, GM and Toyota are all shutting down. Most other manufacturing has gone offshore. So I ask, in the event of a war, do we order our supplies from the enemy? Friends today, enemies tomorrow. Just look at Japan during the two world wars.

Must stop this rant, sorry.

John


#13

John, Thanks for the addition. I now have the ADI 92 9MM2Z headstamped round and a headstamp bunter that is simply ADI 93 which was passed to me as a 9x19mm bunter but I have never documented a 9x19mm case to match it. I suspect it is actually a 5.56mm bunter. I have heard rumor, no evidence of an ADI 9mm case.

Cheers,
Lew


#14

Hi Lew,

I also haven’t seen evidence of an ADI 93 9mm. The production of 9mm here ceased prior to the closing of the Footscray factory, which happened in 93. I haven’t quite got to in depth researching that period as the first 100 years has keep me occupied, however I need to get up to speed on the ADI–Thales details which I intend to examine next year.

I suspect your headstamp bunter is for the 5.56mm but it would be possible it was also used on 9x19 if there was any order for them is 93, the primer pocket being the governing factor. It was not unknown for Footscray to use existing bunters on small test lots, mainly for in house use, examples being 7.62 and .38 Spl with 9mm headstamps. Saved the cost of special bunters.

Cheers

John