The Australian Army has taken delivery of the first 25 Boxer 8x8 Combat Reconnaissance Vehicles from Rheinmetall. The delivery forms part of the $5.2 billion LAND 400 Phase 2 Mounted Combat Reconnaissance Capability project, which Rheinmetall won back in August 2018.
Delivery of the first 25 vehicles enables the Australian Army to continue towards Initial Operating Capability on schedule as Rheinmetall moves into the next phase of the LAND 400 Phase 2 program.
Land 400 Phase 2, which will see the Boxer replace the Australian Army's Light Armoured Vehicle, aims to provide “armoured survivability, mobility and lethality” to the Australian Army’s mounted combat reconnaissance capability.
Australia's Defence Minister Peter Dutton MP visited Rheinmetall Defence Australia’s Military Vehicle Centre of Excellence (MILVEHCOE) in Redbank, Queensland, to review the Boxer vehicles. Rheinmetall will deliver a total of 211 Boxer 8x8 Vehicles in different versions, with 131 being the CRV variant.
Rheinmetall Defence Australia Managing Director Gary Stewart said Boxer’s levels of survivability and mobility was proving a game changer for Australia’s armoured cavalry. “Boxer is now enabling the capabilities that allow the Army to fight, survive and win on the modern, complex battlefields of today and tomorrow,” said Stewart.
Delivery of the initial 25 vehicles was only made possible, said Stewart, by taking advantage of the current production lines in Germany, and using this approach as part of technology transfer activities to ensure Australian workers and suppliers become familiar with manufacturing techniques for highly complex military vehicles.
Rheinmetall Defence Australia has more than 30 Australians currently working at Rheinmetall sites and learning from German colleagues, which is fostering close co-operation and a genuine partnership to realise the capability for the Australian Army.
“Australian engineers, project managers, welders, technicians, trainers and more are living and working with their colleagues in Germany to build a deep understanding of Rheinmetall products and, crucially, acquire the skills and certifications to transfer this expertise and intellectual property to Australia,” Stewart said.
“This kick-starts the knowledge base for a sovereign Australian capability and is complemented with our engagement with the Australian TAFE sector and universities to ensure we build enduring pathways from our education institutions into the military vehicle manufacturing industry, enabling graduates to understand what we do today so they are ready to tackle the challenges of tomorrow.”
The MILVEHCOE (Military Vehicle Centre of Excellence) is the focal point of the Boxer Australian Industry Capability (AIC) program. It is where Rheinmetall will undertake Australian design, manufacture, testing, training and support of the Boxer vehicles and training systems.
The MILVEHCOE provides a sovereign facility where defence, industry and research organisations can innovate and collaborate on the Australian Boxer and other defence programsmes.
Development, production and integration work is well underway within the MILVEHCOE as plant and equipment is installed and commissioned across the main production facility. This work is a key component of knowledge transfer activities for full rate Boxer production in Australia, which is scheduled to commence in Australia after commissioning of the MILVEHCOE Boxer production line is complete.
Rheinmetall has awarded contracts to more than 20 companies to supply products and services for the Australian Boxer vehicle.
Boxer is a heavily protected 8x8 wheeled armoured vehicle. To date, some 1,200 vehicles in more than 20 different configurations are under contract by four NATO nations: Germany, the Netherlands, Lithuania and the UK.