Development of lightweight Australian composite overwrapped gun barrels
Bespoke carbon fibres
Thales Australia is a trusted partner of the Australian Defence Force but also operates across various commercial sectors including transports and security systems. To advance its in-country manufacturing capabilities, Thales seeks to develop a lightweight composite overwrap that can be used to reduce the thickness of external metal walls, in this case of gun barrels, to improve the weight and overall performance of the product. Currently, the intermediate modulus carbon fibre required to create the composite-metal interface for the lightweight overwrap are only commercially available overseas.
Thales Australia, in collaboration with Deakin University, will develop a new intermediate modulus carbon fibre with consistent and well-understood properties, suitable, not only to overwrap metal gun barrels, but also to be used in prototypes for civil applications.
Over the next 5 months, Deakin researchers will define and source suitable carbon fibres, select appropriate resin and develop a new sizing agent to create the composite-metal interface. They will then test and benchmark the new carbon fibre materials which, once approved, will be used to produce a composite demonstrator at Thales Lithgow manufacturing facility.
As part of the project, Deakin will also train and upskill Thales manufacturing staff to work with composites.