Updated 26 July, 10:27
Thales has bought bankrupt Hawkei engine manufacturer Steyr Motors, it has emerged.
The Austrian company went into receivership in February, threatening the supply of engines to the Hawkei progam and the jobs of 150 Thales workers in Bendigo.
The news saw some vehicles slated for Initial Operational Capability delayed, although Final Operational Capability is set to occur as scheduled. Army has procured engines for the vehicles scheduled under low rate initial production and has an order for the subsequent 1,000 engines.
According to Austrian news outlets, four bidders, some under tender groups, were in the race to buy Steyr, with Thales only entering the bidding process two weeks ago. Negotiations reportedly concluded late Wednesday night local time. The purchase price is unclear.
"It was one of my [most] costly procedures so far, since there were economic, technical and legal problems," liquidator Norbert Mooseder said.
“Thales is fully committed to delivering the world-class Hawkei to the ADF," a Thales spokesperson said to ADM.
“After a deep-dive analysis of the Steyr Motors situation, Thales has committed to support the company to ensure long term sustainability and assure engine supply.
“Thales has been working closely with Steyr Motors for several years and we know the quality of its products so this decision has been made with an excellent understanding of the context.
“Thales will continue to work closely with the Commonwealth to deliver Hawkei to the ADF.”
“Thales have kept us closely in the loop. They’ve leant forward very heavily to support Steyr Motors,” MAJGEN Bottrell told ADM earlier this year. “The advice we’ve had back through the administrator is that had Thales not done that, then Steyr Motors may not have continued to operate."
Thales is contracted to deliver 138 Hawkei vehicles for IOC. All are set to be delivered towards the end of the year.