The Australian Department of Defence has received the final two of an initial production run of ten 4×4 Hawkei light protected mobility vehicles in a ceremony witnessed by the Hon Christopher Pyne MP.
The vehicles were rolled off the Thales production line in Bendigo, which also produces the life-saving Bushmaster.
Mr Pyne said the handover of two new Hawkeis represented a major milestone in the military’s next generation Hawkei protected vehicle project and a triumph for Australia’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.”
He said the vehicle will provide 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,” the Minister pointed out, adding that the vehicles will perform reconnaissance, liaison, command and utility functions,” the Minister added.
“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.”
Last year, the Department of Defence signed a $1.3 billion contract with Thales Australia to produce 1100 Hawkei vehicles and more than 1000 companion trailers.
Under the agreement, full scale production is expected to commence in 2018, with all Hawkeis and trailers to be delivered to the Australian Defence Force by late 2021.