UPDATED with Rheinmetall comments, 1945hrs 14/03/18
Rheinmetall Defence Australia’s Boxer Combat Reconnaissance Vehicle (CRV) has been selected to fulfil the Australian Army’s $5.2 billion LAND 400 Phase 2 requirement.
The selection was made yesterday after the National Security Committee (NSC) of Cabinet met to consider Defence’s recommendation of the Boxer to replace the ASLAV ahead of BAE Systems’ rival AMV35 CRV. Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, Defence Minister Marise Payne and Defence Industry Minister Christopher Pyne made the winning announcement at Enoggera Barracks in Brisbane today.
The three-year competition was hotly contested, with the two main contenders mounting compelling capability and industrial cases for their contenders. While both vehicles are reported to have met Army’s requirement, the Boxer’s superior capability and protection for its crew and passengers won out over the lighter and more nimble AMV35.
Ina statement released late on March 14, CEO of Rheinmetall AG Armin Papperger said, “It is a privilege for Rheinmetall to have been selected by the Australian Government to deliver this landmark military vehicle program.
“The program, one of the largest in the history of Rheinmetall, will continue our successful partnership with the Australian Government that has been delivering the latest generation of military trucks to the Army.”
Rheinmetall’s global head Vehicle Systems Division, Ben Hudson added, “We are honoured to have been chosen by the Australian Government at the conclusion of the rigorous Land 400 Phase 2 selection process.
“I must pay tribute to the Rheinmetall team and our Australian partners that have contributed to Land 400; their tireless dedication over the last three years will ensure that the Australian Army receives a vehicle that allows them to fight, survive and win on the battlefields of today and tomorrow.”
In total, 211 CRVs will be acquired, fewer than the original 225 vehicle requirement. Rheinmetall has undertaken to manufacture the first 25 vehicles in Germany while it trains its local workforce, and the remaining 186 will be built at a new Military Vehicle Centre of Excellence (MILVEHCOE) at Ipswich in Queensland.
The projected $5.2 billion is above the upper end of the projected $4bn-$5bn cost range quoted in previous Defence and government documentation. Rheinmetall has identified more than 40 suppliers from around Australia for its Boxer bid, including MILSPEC and Bisalloy from New South Wales, Supashock from South Australia, NIOA and Penske from Queensland, Direct Edge from Tasmania, Supacat, Tectonica and Cablex from Victoria, and Hoffman Engineering from Western Australia.
Ministers Payne and Pyne said up to 1450 jobs would be created during the development, manufacturing and sustainment phases of the project. “Over the 30-year life of the vehicles, Australian industry will secure two thirds, or $10.2 billion, of the total investment in acquiring and maintaining the fleet, creating up to 1450 jobs right across Australia,” a March 14 joint statement reads.
“Rheinmetall is working with more than 40 companies across Australia, ensuring the delivery of these vehicles will be a national enterprise. This project will create jobs across Australia, including 330 in Queensland, 170 in Victoria and 140 in New South Wales during acquisition.
“Government is also spending about $235 million to upgrade facilities in Puckapunyal and Bandiana in Victoria, Adelaide, and Townsville and Enoggera in Queensland, where the vehicles will be used.”
The Boxer CRV and AMV35 were shortlisted for LAND 400 Phase 2 in 2016, and each supplier was required to provide three vehicles for a comprehensive Risk Mitigation Activity (RMA).
“The Government would like to congratulate Rheinmetall and BAE Systems Australia for the quality of their tenders,” the Ministers added. “They were great examples of international companies teaming with Australian industry.”