Minister for Defence Stephen Smith and Minister for Defence Materiel Jason Clare today announced that the Government has allocated just over $38 million to further develop and test the next generation Hawkei Light Protected Mobility Vehicle.
The Hawkei is a mobile, 7-tonne fighting vehicle that offers a high level of protection for the soldiers inside it.
In December 2011 the Government announced that Thales Australia’s Hawkei had been selected as the preferred vehicle for the development and testing under Stage 2 of the Manufactured and Supported in Australia (MSA) option under LAND 121 Phase 4.
ThalesAustraliais currently manufacturing Bushmaster Protected Mobility Vehicles at its factory inBendigo. This manufacturing capability, and the skills of the workforce, is an important national security capability which will be required for the production of the Hawkei.
Defence has now reached an agreement with ThalesAustraliato develop six prototype Hawkei vehicles for further testing. The first of these will be delivered later this year.
Throughout 2013, the Hawkei prototypes will undergo a range of testing and evaluation including user assessments, capability and reliability testing to evaluate the ability of the vehicle to deliver the capability required by Australian troops.
ThalesAustraliawill be required to meet technical performance, cost and schedule commitments in the development of the Hawkei vehicle. Progress in the development of the Hawkei will be assessed against a series of milestones that will determine the maturing design of the vehicle.
If Thales is successful in developing a suitable vehicle at an affordable cost in Stage 2, the Government will consider the merits of buying the Hawkei vehicles to meet Army’s Protected Mobility Vehicle (Light) requirement of LAND 121 Phase
Final Government approval of the project is expected to be able to be considered by 2015.
On current plans, manufacture of Bushmasters atBendigois expected to be completed before the end of 2013.
In order to retain critical skills inBendigowhile the design of the Hawkei is finalised and proven, the Government has agreed to explore the purchase of additional Bushmaster vehicles.
Imagery is available at: http://images.defence.gov.au/fotoweb/Grid.fwx?archiveId=5003=&search=11123032
Mr Smith's Office: Andrew Porter (02) 6277 7800 or 0419 474 392
Defence Media Operations (02) 6127 1999