Australia – Green light for Hawkei

Thales Australia’s innovative Hawkei light protected vehicle has won Australian Government funding for further development.

Hawkei light protected vehicle
Source: Thales

Thales Australia CEO Chris Jenkins today welcomed the announcement by the Minister for Defence, Stephen Smith, that Hawkei had been downselected under the LAND 121 Phase 4 program.

“This is a fantastic achievement for our engineering and production team, our partners and the 120 Australian firms that are part of our manufacturing supply chain.

“Up against the best vehicles in its class from US and European manufacturers, the Thales Hawkei has come out on top, which is a great vote of confidence in the skills of Australian defence industry.

“The Hawkei prototypes were developed in only 18 months and have completed more than 40,000km in vehicle testing. They have been subjected to more than 10 blast tests to prove the protection levels of the crew compartment.

“Subject to further discussions with the Commonwealth, the development contract
announced today will enable us to take the prototype through to a production-ready vehicle that fully meets the specifications set by the Australian Army.

“It is a truly innovative, highly mobile, highly protected, 7-tonne vehicle, with in-built vehicle systems to make it a real fighting platform for Australian troops. The Hawkei has been developed with Vehicle Electronic Architecture to be mission system ready.

“We will work closely with Defence through the further development of the Hawkei to ensure it meets their needs. Our international and local partners including Plasan, Boeing, PAC Group and many Australian SMEs will be vital to this project.

“Today’s decision also makes it possible for Thales to pursue export opportunities for the Hawkei. We have already achieved more than $100m in Bushmaster export sales, and the new Hawkei vehicle has great export potential, with a design that meets the needs of a wide range of military forces.”

Mr Jenkins also welcomed the Minister for Defence’s commitment to the Bendigo protected vehicle manufacturing capability and the skills of its workforce as “an important national security capability”.

About Thales
Thales is a global technology leader for the Defence & Security and the Aerospace & Transport markets. In 2010, the company generated revenues of €13.1 billion (equivalent of AUD 18.9 billion) with 68,000 employees in 50 countries. With its 22,500 engineers and researchers, Thales has a unique capability to design, develop and deploy equipment, systems and services that meet the most complex security requirements. Thales has an exceptional international footprint, with operations around the world working with customers as local partners.

Thales Australia is a trusted partner of the Australian Defence Force and is also present in commercial sectors ranging from air traffic management to security systems and services. Employing around 3,300 people in over 35 sites across the country, Thales Australia recorded revenues of around AUD 900 million in 2010.