Rheinmetall has commenced works at its Military Vehicle Centre of Excellence (MILVEHCOE) site in Ipswich, Queensland.
The MILVEHCOE will be the centrepiece of an 11.1 hectare precinct incorporating a regional headquarters for Rheinmetall Defence and employing around 450 staff. Rheinmetall will establish the MILVEHCOE as its regional hub for the continuous design, manufacture, export and support for military vehicles, turrets and tactical systems.
Rheinmetall representatives and Minister for Defence Industry Steve Ciobo participated in an official sod turning at the Ipswich site in a ceremony officiated by the Premier of Queensland Annastacia Palaszczuk and the Minister for State Development Cameron Dick.
“These are the jobs of the future – working on highly advanced military vehicles with advanced complex systems,” Minister Ciobo said.
“These are vehicles which are designed and manufactured to give our soldiers the best possible chance of completing their missions on operations and coming home safely to their families.”
Once completed in early 2020, the facility will deliver the $5.2 billion Land 400 Phase 2 project to the Army.
Minister for Defence Christopher Pyne said he was pleased to see the ongoing development of Australia’s Defence industry sector, and the key next step in the over $5 billion Land 400 Combat Reconnaissance Vehicle program.
“The centre – known as MILVEHCOE – represents a multi-million dollar investment by Rheinmetall, which is delivering both trucks and armoured vehicles for the Army,” Minister Pyne said.
Rheinmetall Defence Australia Managing Director Gary Stewart said the company would establish a sovereign capability for military vehicle design and production in Australia by transferring critical technologies and skills on military vehicle design from the company’s existing operations across Germany.
Stewart also said breaking ground at Redbank represented a significant milestone for the global company and its partnership with the Queensland Government.
“This facility will transform our business in Australia and the way we engage with the ADF and industry,” he said.
“It will enable the manufacture and sustainment of the Australian Army vehicle fleet of Boxer Combat Reconnaissance Vehicles, as well as being a campus and test facility in one location with all necessary infrastructure to solve problems and develop new capability quickly.”
Stewart said the MILVEHCOE would rely on an industrial network of companies across Australia to deliver component products and services to support production and sustainment of Rheinmetall’s military vehicle fleet.
“Initially, the MILVEHCOE will focus on engineering, production and fielding to the ADF through Land 400 Phase 2,” he said. “Over time, the role of the MILVEHCOE will expand to include the sustainment and upgrading of these vehicles as well as producing, sustaining and upgrading other vehicles in the Rheinmetall fleet from customers across the region.”
Other elements of the MILVEHCOE precinct will include: vehicle test track and electromagnetic test chamber – used to confirm that vehicles meet the agreed performance specifications; an indoor firing range; a systems integration laboratory; and facilities for engineering, training, procurement, project management, finance, legal, marketing and management.
The facility will be located in the heart of a digital cluster supported by all of Australia’s leading data and communications specialists currently serving the ADF. It will also ensure Army’s ability to rapidly deploy when required with some 70 per cent of Army’s operational vehicles based in Queensland.