Defence Minister Marise Payne, Managing Director of Rheinmetall Defence Australia Gary Stewart, and Minister for Defence Industry Christopher Pyne at the signing ceremony. (via @cpyne Twitter)

The Commonwealth and Rheinmetall signed the contract for the production and delivery of 211 Boxer combat reconnaissance vehicles for the Australian Army on August 17.

The contract was signed at Parliament House in Canberra by Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and the Managing Director of Rheinmetall Defence Australia Gary Stewart. The contract signature is valued at $3.3 billion and comes just five months after the March announcement of the selection of the Boxer over the rival BAE Systems AMV35 under Project LAND 400 Phase 2.

Deliveries are expected to commence in 2019 and be completed by 2026. The Boxer will replace the Australian Light Armoured Vehicle (ASLAV) in Army service. The Boxer will be delivered in several different configurations and will fill seven different roles including reconnaissance, command and control, joint fires, surveillance, ambulance, battlefield repair and recovery. The reconnaissance version will be the most common, comprising 133 of the 211 vehicles to be produced.

A Defence statement says the Australian industry content on the vehicles will be more than 50 percent during production, and more than 75 per cent in sustainment.

“This demonstrates, in no uncertain terms, the continued successful cooperation between Rheinmetall and the Government and armed forces of Australia,” Rheinmetall AG Chief Executive Armin Papperger said in a company statement. “As a company, we are extremely pleased to have secured one of the biggest orders in the recent history of Rheinmetall.”

Head of Rheinmetall’s Vehicle Systems Division Ben Hudson added, “The Boxer CRV is highly protected against both asymmetric threats that have been faced by Australian soldiers in recent operations, while also being highly protected against conventional battlefield threats that our soldiers may face one day in a conventional war-fighting scenario.

“We look forward to building on our successful LAND 121 program and extending the trustful partnership we have with the Australian Government and our Australian suppliers and partners into LAND 400 to deliver an outstanding combat vehicle to the Australian Army.”

A majority of the vehicles will be built at a new facility near Ipswich in Queensland. “This will allow us to establish as sovereign military vehicle industry in Australia that will underpin the enduring partnership with the Government to design, manufacture, deliver, support and modernise this world-leading capability,” Mr Stewart said.