French defence group Thales is ramping up production of the Hawkei light armoured vehicle at the company’s protected vehicles manufacturing facility in Bendigo, despite the COVID-19 crisis. From April 21, production of the seven tonne 4×4 vehicle has been doubled as the company races to fill an order from defence for 1,100 vehicles and over 1,000 trailers. Delivery of Hawkei began in 2017 and is supported by Thales facilities in Brisbane and Townsville. Defence Industry Minister Melissa Price said the Thales work provided confidence for 20 small to medium Australian companies involved in the Hawkei supply chain.
The Hawkei PMV is a light Four-wheel drive protected mobility vehicle originally designed to meet an Australian Defence Force (ADF) requirement for a light armoured patrol vehicle to replace some of its Land Rover Perentie variants. The Hawkei is named after Acanthophis hawkei, a species of death adder. The Hawkei is a highly mobile, highly protected, 7-tonne vehicle, with in-built systems to allow it to be used as a fighting platform. It has been developed with Vehicle Electronic Architecture to be mission system ready. Prime contractors include: Thales Australia, Boeing Australia, Plasan (Israel) and PAC Group. In October 2015, the Australian Government announced the purchase of 1,100 Hawkeis from Thales Australia.
Hawkei is protected by ballistic armour and a V-hull design to resist improvised explosives devices. Thales company’s home-grown technology was proven in Afghanistan with its heavier sibling, the Thales Bushmaster. The Hawkei provides unparalleled situational awareness with two large bulletproof windows at the front and two small windows on each side. It offers high level of lethality and survivability for a vehicle in its category. The blast protection is integrated into the hull and the entire automotive system has been packaged to simplify and optimize the blast management system.
The layout of Hawkei 4×4 light protected vehicle is conventional, with the engine at the front, crew and troops compartment in the center and large cargo area at the rear. The four doors version has seating for up to 6 military personnel while the 2 doors variant can accommodate 3 people. The Hawkei 4×4 light protected vehicle can be fitted with a remote controlled weapon station. The weapon station can accommodate a various range of weapons as a 5.56mm, 7.62mm, and 12.7mm machine guns, 40mm automatic grenade launchers, anti-tank missiles and observation pods. The Hawkei 4×4 light protected vehicle is C4I ready with SOTAS IP Smart Platform advanced Vehicle Electronic Architecture.