05 Oktober 2015

Defence Minister Says Australia Could Export Hawkei Armoured Vehicle

05 Oktober 2015

Hawkei protected vehicle (photo : Thales)

Government confirms it is equipping army with 1,100 locally-built Hawkei protected vehicles, a project expected to create more than 200 jobs in Victoria.

The federal government has confirmed it is equipping the army with 1,100 locally-built Hawkei protected vehicles and more than 1,000 trailers, under a $1.3bn deal with defence contractor Thales.

Australian army to get 1,000 armoured vehicles in $1.5bn defence contract

The project is expected to create more than 170 regional jobs in the Victorian city of Bendigo and a further 60 for the state.

The Hawkei vehicles, an upgrade of the widely-recognised Bushmasters, will better protect soldiers and allow them to operate in high-risk areas with a range of blast and ballistic protective features.

The government says the vehicle pioneers the next generation in communications management systems and is the only protected mobility vehicle in the Defence force that can be transported by its helicopters.

Defence minister Marise Payne said the “world-leading” vehicle also had enormous export potential.

“It will be very attractive on the international market, so let’s hope that as we move into effective production we can engage internationally on that as well,” she told reporters in the regional Victorian town of Monegeetta on Monday.

Thales global chief executive Patrice Caine said the Hawkei design could be sold overseas.

“We have already triggered many commercial pursuits, particularly in Europe ... to market this vehicle upstream, even before the signature of this contract,” Caine said.

The federal opposition welcomed the announcement, saying Thales was the preferred choice of the then Labor government in 2013.

“After two years of indecision, the Abbott/Turnbull government has finally reached the same conclusion that Labor did in 2013 – that the Hawkei is the best vehicle for the job,” defence spokesman Stephen Conroy said in a statement.

Former defence minister Kevin Andrews also claimed credit for the decision, saying on Twitter he had presented the Hawkei submission to the national security committee some months back. (The Guardian)

Australia Chooses Hawkei

Hawkei will replace the ageing Land Rover fleet (photo : Thales)

The Hawkei is set to become the latest addition to the Australian Defence Force fleet following the signing of a $1.3 billion contract with the Commonwealth.

Soldiers on operations will benefit from increased protection and mobility in a powerful 4x4 vehicle, which can be adapted for different missions.

Hawkei follows the life-saving success of the larger Bushmaster vehicle, which has protected Australian and other troops in some of the most challenging combat environments on earth.

The Hawkei contract also reflects the unique Australian expertise at Thales’s protected vehicles manufacturing facility in Bendigo, as well as its support centres in Brisbane and Townsville.

Chris Jenkins, CEO of Thales in Australia said: “This is a great day for the ADF and for Australian industry. Hawkei is a highly capable vehicle that will serve this country well for many years to come, and we are delighted that the Department of Defence has recognised the importance of this vehicle by reaching this milestone.

“We are proud to have been chosen to deliver this next generation of protected vehicles to our armed forces, and we stand by them ready to support and adapt it as their requirements evolve.

“We also thank our many suppliers on the program – companies in Australia and overseas that have been with us on this long journey, and who have played a significant role in shaping the Hawkei and contributing to its success. It’s a great story about what Australian industry and international partnerships can achieve.

“As we move into the manufacturing phase, we will now be able to consolidate the work already begun across the Thales group worldwide to ensure the export success of this impressive vehicle.”

The contract involves the delivery of 1,100 vehicles and over 1,000 trailers. The three and a half year production phase is scheduled to begin from mid-2017, with first deliveries expected towards the end of that year. (Thales)

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