A Queanbeyan-based weapons manufacturer has ramped up production in Hume, after winning a contract to supply its new R-400S-Mk2 remote weapons system.
Electro Optic Systems' Hume facility is manufacturing software and hardware to control 30mm cannons.
Company chief executive Dr Ben Greene said about 110 staff were employed in Hume now, with numbers expected to reach nearly 200 by the end of the year. The company would retain its presence in Queanbeyan for other projects.
Electro Optic Systems doesn't build the cannons, but makes the hardware and software to control them - including identifying a target and automatically aiming the cannon.
Defence Industry Minister Christopher Pyne officially opened the new facility on Tuesday.
The company started production of its remote weapons system in 2017 after seven years of development and four years of testing in different environments around the world.
Dr Greene said the company had a $410 million contract to supply significant quantities, bringing sales to $600 million in the first 12 months.
The new contract strengthens its partnership with Orbital ATK, the American manufacturer of the 30mm cannons used by Electro Optic Systems.
Dr Greene said the two companies had spent more than a decade collaborating to reduce weight and improve accuracy in the cannons.
"This innovative technology for the first time allows 30 mm cannon systems to be deployed with unprecedented accuracy on light vehicles, significantly enhancing lethality and protection without compromising mobility, and at a low cost," he said.
The systems would be delivered in monthly shipments between 2018 and 2022, Dr Greene said. He expected follow-on work for repairs and additional equipment.
Only allies of the US and Australia can buy the technology.
A large percentage of the Australian Army in Afghanistan has been upgraded with the company's technology, which Dr Greene says gives the Australian forces an important operational advantage which other countries are only now beginning to receive.
"It is especially pleasing that the Australian Army is equipped with several hundred EOS systems which enhanced our soldiers' protection and lethality in Afghanistan," he said.
Dr Greene said the support of the Commonwealth had helped organise complex licensing issues with the US counterparts.
The announcement of the $410 million contract comes only days after the federal government announced an extra $20 million a year from 2018-19 to boost Australia's defence exports.