Following nearly a decade of testing and development, Defence Minister Senator Linda Reynolds and Defence Industry Minister Melissa Price have announced that the Thales Hawkei protected mobility vehicle (PMV) has been approved to enter into full-rate production (FRP).
Designed to offer protection for its crew from small to medium calibre arms fire and improvised explosive devices, the Hawkei successfully completed an operational trial deployment to Iraq and Afghanistan in 2018.
It has been developed in Australia for Australian conditions, and to carry an EOS remote weapons station (RWS), a CEA CEATAC radar for the Project LAND 19 Phased 7B short-range ground-based air-defence systems (SRGBAD), to tow all-terrain trailers, and to carry and various palletised and podded cargo modules.
A ministerial statement says the vehicle has performed “exceptionally well throughout comprehensive ballistic and blast testing, meeting Defence’s stringent requirements for protection.”
“This is a highly effective capability being delivered in partnership between Defence and industry that builds on Thales’s iconic Bushmaster, which has been highly successful on operations overseas and exported around the world,” Minister Reynolds said in the statement.
“The Hawkei is a significant enhancement to existing land capability that will provide superior mobility, survivability and communications, while protecting the lives of our soldiers when operating in increasingly lethal and complex environments.”
Minister Price added, “The manufacture and ongoing support of the Hawkei vehicle creates significant long-term opportunities for Australian industry, including potential export opportunities, as we have seen with the Bushmaster vehicles. “This Government is investing in the skills and knowledge base of Australia’s defence industry and delivering an internationally competitive and sustainable sovereign Defence industry.”
The Hawkei is being acquired under Project LAND 121 Phase 4, for which 1,100 vehicles and 1,058 trailers built by Queensland-based Haulmark Trailers are required.
Full-rate production will see the PMVs built at a rate of 50 per month. To date, about 200 test and low-rate production Hawkeis have been delivered.