The Australian Army’s new Boxer Combat Reconnaissance Vehicle (CRV) was put to the test during the Amphibious Task Group’s Exercise Sea Wader 2020. The Boxer Combat Reconnaissance Vehicle (CRV) is a development of the baseline Boxer designed to fulfil the Australian LAND 400 Phase 2 requirement. It mounts the Rheinmetall Defence Lance modular turret system (MTS) fitted with the MK30-2/ABM cannon. The vehicle completed a series of beach training scenarios, including driving over sand, vehicle recoveries, embarking and disembarking from LCM8s and Navy Light Landing Craft, and transiting to and from Royal Australian Navy ship HMAS Adelaide. Exercise Sea Wader 2020 enabled newly qualified Boxer CRV crews from the 2nd/14th Light Horse Regiment to practice operating in a coastal setting and increase their amphibious capability.
The first of 25 Boxers – 13 multipurpose and 12 turreted reconnaissance variants – that are being manufactured in Germany through to 2021 to meet an early Australian capability requirement for familiarisation and training, was formally handed over to the army in September 2019. Before delivery the Boxers are being modified locally with Australian-specific communications and battlefield management systems and fitted temporarily with the Kongsberg Protector RWS that previously equipped Australian ASLAVs deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan. Production of the balance of 186 platforms – a mix of reconnaissance, command-and-control, joint fires, surveillance, ambulance, and battlefield repair and recovery variants – will begin in late 2022 at RDA’s AUD170 million Military Vehicle Centre of Excellence (MILVEHCOE).
Nearing completion at Ipswich, southwest of Brisbane, this will be Rheinmetall’s biggest facility outside Germany and represents the largest single infrastructure investment to be made by the company in its 131-year history. To reduce integration risk, fitting the Australian-designed and produced Electro-Optic Systems R400 Mk 2 RWS to the 133 turreted reconnaissance variants is not expected to begin until after domestically produced 30 mm Lance turrets become available from the MILVEHCOE facility, probably sometime in 2023. For the selection process, in the overall evaluation protection received a higher priority than lethality, lethality had a higher priority than mobility, and mobility had a higher priority than sustainability or C4ISR considerations.
The Boxer is a multirole armoured fighting vehicle designed by an international consortium to accomplish a number of operations through the use of installable mission modules. The nations participating in the Boxer program have changed as the program has developed. The Boxer vehicle is produced by the ARTEC GmbH (armoured vehicle technology) industrial group, and the programme is being managed by OCCAR (Organisation for Joint Armament Cooperation). ARTEC GmbH is based in Munich; its parent companies are Krauss-Maffei Wegmann GmbH and Rheinmetall Military Vehicles GmbH on the German side, and Rheinmetall Defence Nederland B.V. for the Netherlands. Overall, Rheinmetall has a 64% stake in the joint venture.Confirmed Boxer customers as of February 2020 are Germany, the Netherlands, Lithuania, Australia and the UK.