Thales Hawkei 4x4 (photo : Thales)
Thales Australia has pre-awarded a $5 million contract to RPC Technologies, an Australian specialist engineering company, to manufacture dashboard assemblies for the company’s new Hawkei vehicle.
The work is conditional on Thales securing a long-term contract with the Department of Defence for Hawkei. It would be carried out at RPC’s manufacturing facilities in Geelong, Victoria, and help sustain jobs over the four-year period of the contract.
Thales Australia CEO Chris Jenkins said: “RPC has the expertise required for the production of military vehicles. Their commitment to excellence in manufacturing and value for money will benefit the Hawkei project, while also securing supply chain skills in Victoria.”
Tony Caristo, Managing Director of RPC Technologies, said: “RPC is thrilled about the opportunity to work with Thales on the Hawkei project supplying the dashboard assemblies. RPC has a history of supporting Thales, having been involved with the Bushmaster program and also Thales Underwater Systems. This contract will help to secure the workforce of the Geelong plant and build RPC’s presence in Defence.”
Thales Australia is currently leveraging its specialist procurement experience developed during the Bushmaster program to source industry participants to supply Hawkei components. The company is also using the industry’stechnical and design capabilities to help reduce cost and weight.
The Bushmaster supply chain itself comprises around 120 Australian Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), with more than 100 based in Victoria and 30 in the Bendigo area. The Bushmaster vehicle contains 65% Australian content, generating long term revenues for a wide range of local component manufacturers and supporting hundreds of Australian jobs.
Thales has delivered six Hawkei vehicles to the Department of Defence, which are currently undergoing testing under the LAND 121 Phase 4 project that seeks to provide up to 1,300 protected light vehicles.
Subject to successful testing, final approval of the project is expected around 2015.