A major milestone has been reached in the military’s next generation Hawkei protected vehicle project as Minister for Defence Industry, the Hon Christopher Pyne MP, today witnessed the handover to Defence of two new Hawkeis.
They are the last in an initial run of ten vehicles to roll off the Thales production line in Bendigo, the same facility that produces the life-saving Bushmaster.
Mr Pyne said the new Hawkei represented a triumph both of defence capability and also the country’s burgeoning defence industry.
“The Hawkei, built right here in Australia, is another triumph of the capability of our defence industry, which is able to compete with the world’s best,” Mr Pyne said.
“Hawkei production will involve about 170 jobs in the Bendigo region. It’s expected approximately 60 additional jobs will be created in Thales’ supply chain to support the production of the Hawkei vehicle.
“On top of that around 35 jobs, primarily in Queensland, will be created to sustain the vehicles.
“The vehicle represents an entirely new capability for the Army, providing a similar level of protection to a Bushmaster at about half the weight.
“The Hawkei is a smaller vehicle that carries up to four troops and can be lifted by a Chinook helicopter.
“It will provide significantly improved protection for soldiers against blast and ballistic threats, with a high level of mobility that will allow it to operate in high-risk areas,” he said.
The vehicles will perform reconnaissance, liaison, command and utility functions.
Defence signed a $1.3 billion contract with Thales Australia in October last year to produce 1100 Hawkei vehicles and more than 1000 companion trailers.
The pilot Hawkei vehicles pave the way for full-rate production in 2018.
All Hawkei vehicles and trailers will be delivered to the ADF by the end of 2021.
Images of the handover ceremony can be found at: http://images.defence.gov.au/S20162850
Rory Grant: 0439 764 809, pynemedia [at] defence.gov.au
Eleisa Hancock: 0427 981 990, pynemedia [at] defence.gov.au
Defence Media (02) 6127 1999