Thales is Quadrupling Its Ammunition Production Capacity at Its La Ferté Saint Aubin Site to Meet the Needs of the French Army

  • After an initial order in 2022 for 3,000 rounds of 120mm illuminating ammunition, followed by an order for 15,000 rounds of 120mm explosive and exercise ammunition in 2023, France’s Joint Munitions Command (Service Interarmées des Munitions / SiMu) has renewed its confidence in Thales with a new order for tens of thousands of 120mm rifled ammunition. ​
  • To fulfill the new order, Thales will significantly ramp up production at its La Ferté Saint Aubin site near Orleans, which manufactured 20,000 120 mm mortar rounds in 2023 and will be producing more than 80,000 a year by 2026.
  • These ammunition will be used by artillery units equipped with towed rifled 120mm mortars and, in the future, by the MEPAC system (Embedded Mortar for Close Support). They will also be used by the towed mortar support sections of the infantry, created under the LPM 24-30 framework.

Thales has received a new order from the French Army and will ramp up production capacity to meet the capability requirements of the armed forces.

Less than two years after awarding Thales a contract for 120 mm munitions, with a firm order for 3,000 illuminating mortar rounds, France’s Joint Munitions Command has signed a new contract with Thales to supply for tens of thousands of 120 mm rounds, completing the order for 15,000 rounds signed in 2023. High-explosive (HE) rounds make up two-thirds of the total order, with practice rounds accounting for the remaining third. The ordnance will be used by towed 120 mm rifled towed mortar systems, and in due course by the MEPAC1 variant of the Griffon multi-role armoured vehicle integrated with the ATLAS2 automated artillery fire control system.

Thales will provide the armed forces with technical assistance, support for integration of the mortar systems on board the vehicles, and maintenance services for the mortar systems and munitions.

The La Ferté Saint Aubin site near Orleans will increase its production rates, from an overall annual output of 20,000 rounds in 2023, to more than 80,000 rounds a year by 2026.

The munitions will be delivered between 2024 and 2029, with a first shipment scheduled for the last quarter of 2024.

In addition to the La Ferté Saint Aubin site, a number of Thales partner SMEs in the defence industrial and technological base, and in particular the companies manufacturing machined projectile bodies and mechanical components, will be involved in fulfilling the new order.

The rifled mortars manufactured by Thales are three times more accurate than smooth-bore mortars and the only mortars to match the performance of 155 mm artillery systems.

“We deeply value the continuing confidence of the French land forces. This order for 120 mm ordnance is an integral part of the broader policy to build capacity and we are fully mobilised to meet this requirement in terms of both production rates and product performance,” said Hervé Dammann, Executive Vice-President, Land and Air Systems, Thales

1MEPAC: Mortier Embarqué Pour l’Appui au Contact / mounted mortar for front-line fire support

2 ATLAS: Automatisation des Tirs et des Liaisons de l’Artillerie Sol-sol / Automated fire control and ground-to-ground artillery links