Australian Combat Assault Rifle

Wedgetail and Lithgow unite to produce new Australian combat rifle

The Australian arms-making industry has taken a notable step forward with the announcement of a new military-grade rifle being produced by Lithgow Small Arms and Melbourne-based Wedgetail Industries.

The Australian Combat Assault Rifle (ACAR) is an Armalite-platform select-fire rifle chambered in 5.56x45mm as standard, with versions in 7.62×51 NATO and .300 Blackout also available.

In its 5.56mm configuration, the rifle has a 305mm (12in) barrel, an overall length of 730mm (28.7in) with the buttstock collapsed, weighs 2.7kg unloaded, and can mount a suppressor.

Wedgetail Industries director Alex Knott said the rifle had come about after Lithgow Small Arms and Wedgetail identified a need for a world-class, top-quality Australian-made rifle for professional users, particularly military and law enforcement, on the global market.

 “It’s a really good opportunity for collaboration to make a world-class product in Australia and export it globally,” he said.

“It’s driven by customer demand and the needs of modern militaries.”

Australian Combat Assault Rifle
The Australian Combat Assault Rifle is available in .300 Blackout and can be fitted with a suppressor

He explained the ACAR rifle was being developed independently of any specific Australian Defence Force (ADF) requirements, and was intended for sale on the international market. 

“It’s by no means a shoo-in these will become an issued item for ADF; these are for global export,” he said.

“None of this [project] is reliant on ADF purchasing anything — it’s about sovereign manufacturing capability, Australian innovation and Australian jobs, and export markets.”

Australian Combat Assault Rifle
Aimed at the international military and policing markets, the ACAR is chambered in 5.56, 7.62 and .300 Blackout

Wedgetail has been making AR-platform rifles in Australia for more than a decade and is part of an industry incubator program at Lithgow Small Arms.

Mr Knott stressed the Lithgow-Wedgetail collaboration was not necessarily a one-off event, either, and Wedgetail was very mindful of the needs of Category B-licensed Australian shooters, too.

“We have a long product pipeline of ideas we want to bring to market and a lot of our future products with Lithgow will be for the civilian market,” he said.

The ACAR is in pre-production now, with full production expected to begin imminently.

“It’s happening now – this isn’t an announceable happening in the future, we’re on the ground in Lithgow; these are being manufactured,” Mr Knott said.




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Royce Wilson

Royce is something rare in Australia: A journalist who really likes guns. He has been interested in firearms as long as he can remember, and is particularly interested in military and police firearms from the 19th Century to the present. In addition to historical and collectible firearms, he is also a keen video gamer and has written for several major newspapers and websites on that subject.