Only four more dates remain for Queensland companies to discuss potential business opportunities with Rheinmetall for its LAND 400 Phase 2 bid.
Rheinmetall's roadshow, QueensLAND, will visit Townsville, Cairns, Mackay and Gold Coast over the space of eight days as it discusses business prospects with Queensland SMEs.
Companies will also learn more about Rheinmetall's proposed Military Vehicle Centre of Excellence (MILVEHCOE) in Queensland and Rheinmetall’s $80-million Technology and Product Development Fund.
Attendees will also have the chance to view the Boxer CRV.
Brisbane SMEs were the first to be briefed earlier this month at an event at small arms supplier NIOA's headquarters, followed by businesses in the Ipswich region and in the Sunshine Coast.
If chosen as the successful tenderer over competitor BAE Systems Australia, Rheinmetall will establish its Australia and New Zealand headquarters, as well as a Military Vehicle Centre of Excellence (MILVEHCOE), in Queensland and deliver 225 vehicles to the Australian Army.
Currently the largest supplier of military vehicles to the Australian Defence Force, Rheinmetall said its MILVEHCOE would provide a sovereign industrial capability for the continuous design, manufacture, export and support for military vehicles, turrets and tactical systems.
Rheinmetall has also said the MILVEHCOE will work to create a supply network across Australia to deliver products and services from local industry into the Rheinmetall global supply chain.
The MILVEHCOE would be the focal point for the LAND 400 combat vehicles, LAND 121 logistics vehicles and other complex defence projects. The company said advanced manufacturing jobs would be created in a wide range of technologies including military vehicle design, medium calibre weapons and ammunition, protection systems, fire control and surveillance systems, and systems engineering and integration.
The centre of excellence would also include significant design, prototyping, manufacturing and system test capabilities; including a mobility test track, a medium calibre firing range and an electromagnetic compatibility test chamber.
Rheinmetall's $80-million fund will also 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 Rheinmetall Defence Australia managing director Gary 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.
Ben Hudson, Rheinmetall Defence executive board member and global head of vehicle systems, said Queensland was chosen as the preferred location because of its access to the Australian Army and the state's workforce.
"Queensland is an outstanding location to establish the MILVEHCOE," said Hudson.
"The state offers a range of significant attributes including access to the Australian Army, industry partners, a skilled workforce and an excellent site to build a state-of-the-art facility.
Queensland's Treasurer and Minister for Trade and Investment Curtis Pitt added that industries in Queensland outside of defence would also benefit if Rheinmetall is chosen for the project.
"If it wins, Rheinmetall has committed to design, manufacture and maintain its Boxer CRV vehicle, as well as its existing defence manufacturing and maintenance business, in Queensland," said Minister Pitt.
"Defence industries employ approximately 6,500 Queenslanders across the state from Cairns to the Gold Coast, and generates more than $4.2 billion in annual revenue.
"Clearly this is big business for our state and we’re well equipped to meet the future requirements of the major global defence industries, and that's why we're confident we can bring the contract to Queensland."
If Rheinmetall wins the contract, the company expects the new Queensland establishment to generate at least 450 full-time equivalent jobs over 10 years across Queensland’s defence supply chain.
State Development Minister Anthony Lynham said these jobs would also benefit other Queensland companies.
"Most of these will be highly skilled, highly paid advanced manufacturing and engineering jobs, the jobs of the future we want for Queensland," Minister Lynham said.
"The transfer of technologies and skills to Queensland companies will make them even more competitive globally and will have far-reaching benefits across the entire industry.
"A whole new military vehicle manufacturing industry will be a game-changer for decades to come."
Under the LAND 400 Phase 2 contract, Rheinmetall would need to have its facility completed by mid-2020 to supply the first Boxer CRV by 2022.
Minister Lynham added that the Palaszczuk government put a compelling case to BAE for Queensland to also be its preferred location, but Victoria has since been chosen as BAE's preferred location for the LAND 400 Phase 2 project build.
The LAND 400 roadshow will visit Townsville on 25 September, Cairns 28 September, Mackay 29 September, and Gold Coast on 3 October.
Businesses can register by contacting Rheinmetall Defence Australia.