BAE Systems, the company about to lose a major defence contract at Bandiana in June, remains in the mix for a $1 billion contract to operate the Mulwala and Benalla explosives factories in 2015.
The British-owned multi-national learnt last month it had failed to retain a contract to repair military vehicles and weapons at Bandiana but the Defence Department hasn’t yet revealed the replacement contractor.
The new contractor will have a single nationwide contract covering Bandiana and 10 other bases.
Union leaders hope all the Bandiana workers will be taken on by the new contractor in July but meanwhile, about 300 staff face redundancy.
Australian company UGL Limited is known to be one of the companies that sought the contract.
BAE Systems is one of five consortiums registered to bid for a much larger deal — the $1 billion federal government’s “domestic munitions manufacturing arrangements” covering a decade.
These will replace major contracts that date back to before the French-owned Thales group bought out Australian Defence Industries, a government-owned company.
Thales operates the government-owned Mulwala explosives and propellents factory under the new name of Australian Munitions.
About $386 million is being spent on a upgrade of Mulwala, due to be fully commissioned this year.
Australian Munitions both owns and operates the Benalla factory, which produces bullets and shells from raw material produced at Mulwala.
If the company does not win the new contract, a decision would have to be made about selling the factory to the new operator.
Last year, the government shortlisted six bidders, since reduced to five after BAE Systems and Spanish Expal Systems, formed a consortium.
The other four groups in contention are: Australian Munitions; Alliant Techsystems and NIOA Nominees (both US), Rheinmettal (Germany) and RUAG (Switzerland) and Raytheon (US), Chemring (Britain) and Poongsan (South Korea).