• The CEA Technologies radar will be mounted on Hawkei vehicles. Credit: Defence
    The CEA Technologies radar will be mounted on Hawkei vehicles. Credit: Defence

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.

Under 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 Linda Reynolds said the vehicle has performed exceptionally well throughout comprehensive ballistic and blast testing.

“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.”

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 says it 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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