Sitting in a cavalry screen far forward of 7th Brigade Battle Groups, the Boxer Combat Reconnaissance Vehicle surveilled Objective Otter during Exercise Talisman Sabre 2023 (TS23) as the ‘eyes and ears’ of the 1st Australian Division. The platform has proven to be a formidable and lethal capability, most recently having tested its target acquisition systems to shoot down unmanned aerial systems (UAS) loitering in the sky. TS23 was also the first time His Majesty’s Armed Forces of Tonga have integrated with the Boxer, as part of Battle Group Warhorse, to provide a dismounted infantry and cavalry scout capability.
“The Boxer has achieved a number of firsts in recent months. 2nd/14th Light Horse Regiment conducted its first squadron-level manoeuvre live-fire in July, and we’ve also tested its lethality in prosecuting UAS targets. The Tongan soldiers are a force multiplier that provides a dismounted anti-armour capability to seek out and destroy enemy tanks and reconnaissance vehicles. Dismounts also enable ground to be held for longer periods, which enables operations like bridging to be conducted in the rear. The combined effects of this allow for quick manoeuvre to achieve brigade or divisional objectives,” Commander 7th Brigade Brigadier Michael Say said.
Graduate of the Royal Military College (RMC) – Duntroon, His Majesty’s Armed Forces of Tonga Contingent Commander Lieutenant Colonel Tau Aholelei said operating with motorised or cavalry units was a new experience for his soldiers. “We supported the tactical actions of the reconnaissance battle. We shared ideas and learning from each other so we could integrate our forces as part of our commitment to regional security. Our partnership is growing, and it was great to work alongside some of my old friends from RMC,” Lieutenant Colonel Aholelei said.
The Boxer is a multirole armoured fighting vehicle designed by the ARTEC GmbH (its parent companies are Krauss-Maffei Wegmann and Rheinmetall) industrial group and the programme is being managed by OCCAR (Organisation for Joint Armament Cooperation). 211 vehicles on order by Australian Army, with deliveries expected until 2026. Vehicles to be delivered under the Land 400 Phase 2 programme. 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 – were formally handed over to the army in September 2019.