First Hawkei vehicles handed over to ADF
The first batch of ten Hawkei protected vehicles has now been handed over to the Australian Defence Force (ADF) by Thales. The Australian government announced the programme milestone on 14 November.
Thales Australia is under contract to produce 1,100 Hawkei vehicles for the ADF, along with more than 1000 companion trailers. The contract, worth $1.3 billion, was signed in October 2015.
With the first batch of vehicles now delivered, full-rate production at the company’s Bendigo facility is set to begin in 2018. All vehicles and trailers will be delivered to the ADF by the end of 2021.
The Australian Army will use the vehicles for reconnaissance, liaison, command and utility functions.
Australia’s Minister for Defence Industry, Christopher Pyne, said at the handover ceremony: ‘The [Hawkei] vehicle represents an entirely new capability for the army, providing a similar level of protection to a Bushmaster at about half the weight.
The Hawkei is a smaller vehicle that carries up to four troops and can be lifted by a Chinook helicopter. It will provide significantly improved protection for soldiers against blast and ballistic threats, with a high level of mobility that will allow it to operate in high-risk areas.’
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