The next generation of Hawkei Protected Mobility Vehicle – Light has reached a significant milestone with the approval of Initial Operational Capability under the Project Land 121 Phase 4. This brand new capability for the Australian Defence Force (ADF) will provide a high level of protection for soldiers, with significantly improved mobility enabling it to operate in high threat environments. In October 2015, the Australian Government said the $2 billion project would see the new fleet of 1,100 Australian-built light protected vehicles rolled out to Army and Air Force units from Thales Australia.
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. The new fleet of lighter vehicles, which will come with 1,058 trailers, will better protect ADF personnel from blast and ballistic threats. 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 Australian Defence Force capability to meet Australian requirements.
Hawkei has been designed and built in Australia by Thales Australia, which supports Australian jobs. 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. The production support of the Hawkei in Australia creates significant long-term opportunities for Australian industry, including the potential for export. Australian Defence Force has lifted the Hawkei’s operating restrictions, enabling the recommencement of full-rate production and rollout of the capability.
The Hawkei 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 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. It is intended to undertake a range of mission profiles, including troop movement, command and control, electronic warfare, liaison, surveillance and reconnaissance. Prime contractors include: Thales Australia, Boeing Australia, Plasan (Israel) and PAC Group.