A LAND 400 Phase 2 contender has revealed it will establish a multimillion-dollar fund as part of its bid for the $5 billion combat reconnaissance vehicle program.
Rheinmetall Defence Australia today announced its $80 million Technology and Product Development Fund as part of the Australian Industry Capability program for the project, which is now under evaluation by the Commonwealth.
Under the project, Rheinmetall is bidding its BOXER CRV against BAE Systems' Patria AMV-35 for the supply of 225 vehicles to the Australian Army.
Gary Stewart, managing director of Rheinmetall Defence Australia, said the fund the company has proposed will aid in research, product development and new technologies for both the Australian and global market.
"This technology fund provides the missing link between fundamental research and product development that will underpin an enduring sovereign military vehicle capability in Australia," said Stewart.
"The fund will invest in the development of a range of new technologies and products for the Australian and global markets, ensuring the sustainability of the industry in Australia, while also generating advanced manufacturing jobs and enriching the Australian economy."
With an initial investment period of five years, Rheinmetall said it will use the fund for fundamental research in future technologies, and ongoing product development.
The second objective of the fund will be to contribute directly to the ongoing product development for Australian-based vehicle and turret systems. This will allow Australian innovation, systems and ideas to be developed, prototyped and tested in the Military Vehicle Centre of Excellence.
In relation to the fund's fundamental research objective, Rheinmetall also revealed it is establishing programs with the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) and selected academic institutions to conduct research that can be applied to underpin future capabilities. The initial areas of research include:
- Lightweight high performance materials for automotive and military applications, in partnership with the CSIRO and Swinburne University of Technology;
- Advanced and hybrid manufacturing, in partnership with CSIRO and Swinburne University of Technology;
- Autonomous systems, in partnership with the Queensland University of Technology; and
- Advanced sensing, in partnership with the University of South Australia.
"The technology fund and partnerships will create a clear pathway for science, technology, engineering and mathematics graduates to enter an industry focused on military vehicles, turret systems and automotive technologies," said Stewart.
"It will also allow a clear commercialisation pathway for local companies to both the Rheinmetall Defence and Rheinmetall Automotive global supply chains."