Australian arms and munitions industry stalwart NIOA has begun a tenancy at the US government’s Picatinny Arsenal in New Jersey, becoming one of only 10 industry partners located “within the wire” at the base.
The Arsenal is known for its cutting-edge research and manufacturing facilities, and is perhaps best known to most shooters for developing the Picatinny Rail mounting system for rifle optics and accessories).
NIOA Group CEO Rob Nioa said that by positioning itself at the heart of one of the US Army’s garrisons, the company could strengthen collaborative efforts with the US Department of Defense (DoD).
This includes being able to respond rapidly to US requirements and providing a face-to-face customer service.
“Nioa has a long history supporting the Commonwealth of Australia with US products from industry partners like Day & Zimmerman, Northrop Grumman, Action Manufacturing and General Dynamics,” he said.
“As Australia’s global munitions company, NIOA sees this as an important strategic step which aligns with the company’s goal of more involvement as a future US Department of Defense contractor while also fortifying the allied supply chain.
“By establishing a physical presence at Picatinny, NIOA hopes to foster closer ties with the US DoD.
“The office will serve as a collaborative hub that enables NIOA to engage with the project managers at a personal level.
“Additionally, it will assist in monitoring emerging opportunities and deepen partnerships with American defence contractors at a time when both the US and Australia are seeking greater opportunities for co-production, co-sustainment and co-development of key weapons and munitions.”
Mr Nioasaid the company had first applied for a tenancy at Picatinny in 2019, and reinforced its US presence earlier this year when it acquired Barrett Firearms in January; it has also strengthened its US-based leadership through several key personnel appointments boasting extensive US Government, military and DoD experience.
“They include former commander of Picatinny Arsenal, Brig Gen (Ret) Alfred Abramson, as well as Doreen Chaplin and Dan Napolitano, originally from JPEO Armaments & Ammunition,” Mr Nioa said.
“The Nioa Group’s advisory board includes former US Under-Secretary of Defense for Acquisition and Sustainment, the Hon Ellen Lord.”
Mr Nioa said the opening of the Picatinny office sent a clear message NIOA was positioned to compete with traditional US defence suppliers on an equal footing.
“It comes at a time when agreements such as AUKUS are seeing the US and Australian industrial bases becoming closer and more integrated than ever.
“NIOA is demonstrating its long-term commitment to building on strategic alliances and defence innovation on a global scale,” he said.
While the defence contract benefits for NIOA are obvious, the tenancy will also have a flow-on effect to the civilian market — an area NIOA is particularly active in, especially here in Australia.
“Barrett is renowned worldwide for its cutting-edge technology; the new office will enhance the agility and responsiveness to the needs of all our customers,” Mr Nioa said.
“Through investment into research and development, the US Government advances new technologies that flow on to the commercial market.”