Lithgow Arms is showcasing a prototype of the first new civilian rifle to be designed and built in Lithgow for over 40 years, which will be the only mass-produced rifle currently made in Australia.
The LA101 CrossOver concept will be debuted at this week’s Shot Expo in Melbourne, with feedback welcome from the Australian shooting community before production commences.
Building on more than a century of military manufacturing expertise in Lithgow, NSW, the Australian-made LA101 CrossOver is a hunting / target rifle with modern tactical styling, high accuracy and reliability.
It will initially be offered in .22 LR, .22 WMR and .17 HMR Rimfire calibres, and will feature a wider fore-end and more vertical handgrip for stable bipod or bench use, a heavy barrel for stability, accuracy and slow heat build-up, plus rapid and smooth bolt operation with triple-lug 60-degree locking. Centrefire variants in .223 and .308 will follow.
The stock will include an integral moulded trigger guard and butt hook for improved prone hold, and will be made from the same injection moulded nylon as Thales Australia’s new Austeyr-based EF88 rifle currently being developed for the Australian Defence Force, as well as the F90 export variant.
The LA101 CrossOver barrel will have a proprietary semi match chamber for improved accuracy with a wide variety of ammunition. Each military grade steel barrel will be cold forged, manufactured on the same machine at Lithgow that makes barrels for the ADF’s Austeyr rifles and ensures their outstanding accuracy – the only such machine in the southern hemisphere.
Lithgow Arms is a Thales Australia-owned business, and Thales Australia CEO Chris Jenkins said: “We’re building on our proud military heritage to offer a new Australian rifle specifically for Australian customers. We’ve been asked about this idea for many years, and decided it’s now time to meet the demand for a competitively priced, locally made rifle. There is definitely a place in the market for a product like this, and we believe customers will appreciate owning a rifle made at Lithgow, with all its heritage and storied place in Australian military history.”
The LA101 CrossOver will be distributed through Winchester Australia.
A new range of ‘Australian Outback’ ammunition will also be on display at the Shot Expo, along with the ADI propellant range.
Thales is a global technology leader for the Defence & Security and the Aerospace & Transport markets. In 2012, the company generated revenues of €14.2 billion (equivalent of AUD 17.6 billion) with 67,000 employees in 56 countries. With its 25,000 engineers and researchers, Thales has a unique capability to design, develop and deploy equipment, systems and services that meet the most complex security requirements. Thales has an exceptional international footprint, with operations around the world working with customers and local partners. www.thalesgroup.com
Thales Australia is a trusted partner of the Australian Defence Force and is also present in commercial sectors ranging from air traffic management to security systems and services. Employing around 3,300 people in over 35 sites across the country, Thales Australia recorded revenues of AUD 1 billion in 2012.
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