Australia has reached a significant milestone in its delayed Project Land 121 Phase 4 as the new generation of Hawkei protected vehicles achieved initial operational capability.
The new vehicle has been cleared for fielding after the defense ministry and Thales Australia resolved a braking issue identified in late 2020. A technical solution is currently being rolled out across the Hawkei fleet, the defense ministry said.
With appropriate controls in place, the defense has lifted the Hawkei’s operating restrictions, enabling the recommencement of full-rate production and rollout of the capability.
The Hawkei is a new capability designed to meet the army’s light armored patrol vehicle needs and will offer improved compared to the Land Rover vehicle it is essentially replacing.
Minister for Defence the Hon Peter Dutton MP said the A$2 billion project would see the new fleet of 1,100 Australian-built light protected vehicles rolled out to army and air force units.
“The Hawkei is expected to reach full operational capability in 2023 and is joining the existing Bushmaster and Protected Medium Heavy Capability trucks to create a suite of protected mobility vehicles,” Minister Dutton said.
“The new fleet of lighter vehicles, which will come with 1,058 trailers, will better protect ADF personnel from blast and ballistic threats.”
Minister for Defence Industry the Hon Melissa Price said the Hawkei project is delivering vehicles manufactured in Victoria at the Thales Protected Vehicles facility in Bendigo.
“This project is an excellent example of Australian industry providing Defence capability to meet Australian requirements,” Minister Price said.
“The production of the Hawkei is sustaining approximately 210 jobs in Thales’ workforce in Bendigo, creating about 35 more jobs as part of the support contract, and establishing around 180 additional jobs as part of Thales’ supply chain supporting production.”