Thales Australia to develop new carbon fibres for overwrapped gun barrels


Production of carbon fibre. Source: Deakin Carbon Nexus

Australian manufactured bespoke carbon fibres

Leading defence contractor Thales Australia has entered into a collaboration with Deakin University and the Innovative Manufacturing Cooperative Research Centre (IMCRC) to develop a lightweight composite overwrap for gun barrels.

The 6-month, $234,023 research and development (R&D) project will deliver a carbon fibre overwrap that will reduce the thickness of the gun barrel, resulting in a lighter product with increased precision.

Commenting on the project, Graham Evenden, Thales Australia’s Director Integrated Weapons & Sensors, said the research collaboration would enable Thales to advance its in-country composite manufacturing capabilities.

“Currently, the intermediate modulus carbon fibres suited to the overwrap are only available from overseas supply chains that face frequent disruptions. By developing these fibres on Australian soil, Thales is establishing an innovative capability that can be applied to other small arms products across civil and defence sectors,” he said.

“Thales will also work hand in glove with Deakin to train and upskill staff at our Lithgow Arms facility to work with composites, further contributing to sustainable growth within Australia’s manufacturing sector.”