The Australian Government has agreed to a major defence export deal with Germany, signing an in-principle agreement for Australia to supply more than 100 Boxer Heavy Weapon Carrier vehicles, built in Brisbane. Prime Minister Anthony Albanese witnessed the signing of the agreement by Ambassador to Germany Philip Green and Mr Benedikt Zimmer, State Secretary, Federal Ministry of Defence, during his visit to Berlin. Once finalised, the deal would see Rheinmetall leverage its production capacity at its Military Vehicle Centre of Excellence in Redbank, Queensland to supply the vehicles to Germany. The deal represents one of Australia’s largest ever defence export contracts, worth over $1 billion to the Australian economy in the production and supply of vehicles, supporting approximately 1,000 local Australian jobs and providing a significant boost to our sovereign defence industry.
Minister for Defence Industry Pat Conroy said: “We are excited that Boxers made in Brisbane, using Australian suppliers, will be used by the German Army. This export opportunity highlights the world-leading skills and capabilities within Australia’s defence industry. This deal will support hundreds of well-paid, high skill jobs and grow the defence relationship between Australia and Germany.”
Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said:“This is one of the biggest defence sales in Australia’s history and is worth over $1 billion to the Australian economy in the production and supply of these vehicles.The agreement will boost Australia’s sovereign defence industry, secure local jobs and contribute to Australia’s economic growth. This deal secures well-paid jobs in Queensland and across the country.”
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 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. A distinctive and unique feature of the vehicle is its composition of a drive platform module and interchangeable mission modules which allow several configurations to meet different operational requirements.
In September 2021 European intergovernmental organisation OCCAR announced a new reconnaissance vehicle mission module for the German Army known as the Joint Fire Support Team. The new variant will be centred around a sensor mast known as the Panoramic Above Armour Gimbal (PAAG) and built by Thales, with imaging sensors for visible to thermal infrared spectra and rangefinding and targeting lasers. The heavy weapon carrier will be the fifth version of the Boxer in service with the German Army and current planning calls for training to begin on the new heavy weapon carrier in 2025, with the first three infantry battalions to be equipped with the system by 2027. In March 2023 the German Army signed a contract with Rheinmetall Australia to procure these 128 Boxer CRVs from 2025 onwards. Prototype delivery is expected in 2023 and full production in 2025.