A major milestone has been reached in the Australian military's next generation Hawkei protected vehicle project. Two new Hawkei's were handed over to the Australian Minister for Defence Industry, Christopher Pyne on the 14 November.
They are the last in an initial run of 10 vehicles to roll off the Thales production line in Bendigo, the same facility that produces the Bushmaster. Mr Pyne said the Hawkei represents an entirely new capability for the Army, providing a similar level of protection to a Bushmaster at about half the weight.
"The Hawkei is a smaller vehicle that carries up to four troops and can be lifted by a Chinook helicopter," Pyne stated. "It will provide significantly improved protection for soldiers against blast and ballistic threats, with a high level of mobility that will allow it to operate in high-risk areas,."
The vehicles will perform reconnaissance, liaison, command and utility functions.
The Australian Department of Defence signed a $1.3 billion contract with Thales Australia in October last year to produce 1,100 Hawkei vehicles and more than 1000 companion trailers.
The pilot Hawkei vehicles pave the way for full-rate production in 2018. All Hawkei vehicles and trailers will be delivered to the Australian Defence Force by the end of 2021.