BAE Systems Australia has awarded an additional package of work worth more than $15 million to engineering company Marand for its proposed new Army combat reconnaissance vehicles.
This will contribute to the creation of 60 new manufacturing jobs in regional Victoria.
Marand is one of Victoria’s biggest defence manufacturers and employs more than 250 people.
BAE Systems, Australia’s largest defence company, has selected Marand to manufacture turret shells for the Finnish-designed Patria AMV35, which it is offering as a replacement for the Army’s ageing ASLAVs under project LAND 400 Phase 2.
Previously, BAE Systems announced that Marand would manufacture the AMV35 vehicle hull.
Project LAND 400 Phase 3 will replace the Army’s Vietnam-era M-113 armoured personnel carriers with a modern infantry fighting vehicle.
LAND 400 is the Australian Army’s largest ever vehicle replacement program.
BAE Systems says the latest work package to Marand is common to both LAND 400 Phase 2 and Phase 3, and would provide for further job increases if BAE Systems’ LAND 400 bid is successful.
BAE Systems Australia chief executive Glynn Phillips said Marand had proved it has a skilled and experienced workforce ready to work with BAE to deliver a high quality product for the Australian Army.
“Working with partners like Marand will help us develop and maintain Australian Industry Capability on major projects like Land 400,” he said.
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The other contender for LAND 400 Phase 2 is German firm Rheinmetall with its Boxer CRV.
Should they win, BAE Systems Australia will assemble their vehicles at Fishermans Bend, Victoria, while Rheinmetall Defence Australia will make their vehicles in Brisbane.
On Thursday, BAE Systems showcased the AMV35 to a group of Marand workers at the former Ford factory in Geelong.
“This opportunity will provide long-term employment with up to 60 direct jobs at Marand. I expect a number of those will be former automotive employees,” Mr Phillips said.
Marand is currently negotiating with Ford about the future use of the Geelong facility to open up further advanced manufacturing jobs in the area.
Marand executive chairman David Ellul said, “As teaming partners for Land 400, we would love to produce the BAE Systems AMV35 hulls and turrets here in Marand’s Geelong facility. Marand and Ford Australia have worked together for over 40 years; I’m currently in discussions with Ford to ensure we can make this a long-term reality in the next chapter for the Geelong community.”
Since opening their Geelong manufacturing division on Ford’s site five years ago, Marand already employs more than 40 staff in Geelong.
“Part of being a named partner for BAE Systems on Land 400 has been making a considerable investment in the project,” Marand's Alex Lyon said.
“Marand engineers have already travelled the globe to better understand the production process of these hulls and turrets. These combat proven vehicles have been manufactured in several first-world countries already. The lessons learnt ensure that the ultimate customer receives a solution they can be confident in.”
The Land 400 project provides Marand with manufacturing opportunities for the next 10 years, and potential support opportunities for up to 30 years. Marand welcomed the additional award of work from BAE Systems, bringing the value of potential Marand Land 400 work to more than $80 million.