After a series of trials which started last year, the Australian Army’s new Boxer combat reconnaissance vehicles are being put to the test in the largest exercise they have operated in since being introduced into the service.
The vehicles are being used in the 7th Brigade-led exercise Diamond Walk at the Shoalwater Bay Training Area in Queensland.
Trooper Harrison Dietrich, a gunner on the Boxer, said the crews had adapted well to the new capability.
“We have just conducted a battle run with the hatches down, which has been a first for the troop,” Trooper Dietrich said.
“It was a case of walking through the complexities of a hatch-down environment. It’s also been about adapting and trying to work out the best way to employ the Boxer.”
Lieutenant Riley Brassil preciously worked with the vehicle the Boxer is replacing, the Australian light armored vehicle.
“The crews have shown great initiative and technical mastery in the way they have adapted to the new vehicle platform, which is unlike anything they have worked with before.
“In a vehicle that has so many sensors and digital systems, you find that you have so much more to work with and your mind is stretched between a few different lines of effort,” Lieutenant Brassil said.
“However, if you can pull that all together and work with the crew as a whole, the Boxer is extremely effective at doing its job.”
The Boxers are taking part in exercise Diamond Walk after Australian Army soldiers first started training on the new vehicles in October last year. Australia is buying a total of 211 new Boxer 8×8 CRVs from German defense contractor Rheinmetall. The company is assembling early vehicles in Germany but will base its Australian and New Zealand headquarters as well as its manufacturing hub in South East Queensland as part of technology transfer activities.
Officer Commanding A Squadron 2nd/14th Light Horse Regiment (Queensland Mounted Infantry) [2/14LHR (QMI)] Major Daniel Solomon said the crews enjoyed taking the Boxer into the field after extensive theory-based training in the barracks.
“This is our first opportunity for this training year to take the Boxer into the field as part of the Boxer’s introduction into the Army,” Major Solomon said.
“Exercise Diamond Walk has been an opportunity for us to go back to the basics, and the couple of weeks we have been out here has seen us achieve dry and live-fire individual crew certification, and up to troop certification live-fire.”
Exercise Diamond Walk runs until June 11.