Hawkei to be built in Bendigo

Army’s new Australian-designed and built Hawkei protected vehicle is ready to enter full-rate production at Thales’ Protected Vehicles facility in Bendigo, Victoria.

The vehicle’s production will support more than 200 local jobs in Bendigo as Victoria deals with the current outbreak of COVID-19, as well as more across the national defence industry.

Minister for Defence, Senator the Hon. Linda Reynolds CSC said 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.

“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.

“This is yet another example of Defence and defence industry managing business practices in a COVID-19 safe manner to continue delivering ADF capability.”

Under project LAND 121 Phase 4, 1,100 Hawkei vehicles and 1,058 associated trailers will be delivered, with the full rate production vehicles expected to commence delivery from mid-2021.

Minister for Defence Industry, Melissa Price said the project demonstrates the Morrison Government’s commitment to maximising opportunities for Australian defence industry.

“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,” Minister Price said.

“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.”

Senator for Victoria, Sarah Henderson said the vehicle’s production is a welcome boost to the Victorian economy.

“Approximately 50 vehicles per month will be manufactured out of the Thales Protected Vehicles facility in Bendigo until mid-2022,” Senator Henderson said.

“The Hawkei’s production will sustain around 210 jobs in Thales’ workforce in Bendigo, and around 180 additional jobs nation-wide as part of Thales’s supply chain.

“For many small-to-medium enterprises, work on the Hawkei has provided business continuity and enabled investment in people and facilities, as well as diversification into other Defence projects and adjacent industries.”

Eighteen of Thales’s key 25 suppliers are based in Victoria, including:

Albins Performance Transmissions, based in Ballarat, for the vehicle cross drive, steering rack, castings and shafts;

  • Flexible Drive Agencies, based in Oakleigh, for the wiper and gear selector assembly;
  • Thomas Warburton, based in Dandenong South, for fasteners and hardware; and
  • Gough Transport Solutions, based in Noble Park, for the pneumatic system.

Defence plans to fit a quantity of the Hawkei protected mobility vehicles with the Electro Optic Systems Remote Weapon Stations.

The CEATAC radar, designed and built by CEA Technologies in Canberra, is also capable of being fitted onto the Hawkei utility vehicle and trailer.

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