Melbourne-based specialist vehicles company Supacat Asia-Pacific has signed a partnership agreement with Rheinmetall for the design and manufacture of sub-systems for the Australian fleet of Boxer armoured vehicles.
This follows Rheinmetall signing a multibillion-dollar LAND 400 Phase 2 contract with the Commonwealth government in August to deliver the armoured 8x8 cCRVs for the Australian Army, a nation-building project, producing high-tech, highly-skilled jobs and a capability that will protect Australian soldiers in combat.
Rheinmetall Defence Australia managing director Gary Stewart said, "Supacat brings immense experience across a range of areas critical to our program and it’s entirely appropriate they are the first company to formally join our program following contract signature with the Commonwealth."
Supacat in Australia is an innovative producer of high mobility military vehicles, specialist vehicles and maritime products. The company has an established presence in Australia and partnered with Rheinmetall through the risk mitigation activities conducted as part of the selection process for LAND 400 Phase 2.
The partnership agreement will at least double Supacat’s engineering workforce, with the creation of at least 20 new engineering roles.
Defence Industry Minister Steven Ciobo said the new vehicles represented a significant project that is producing high-tech, highly-skilled jobs, some 1,450 of them across Australia.
"This is the first contract of approximately 40 local suppliers involved in key acquisition and sustainment activities in the Boxer Combat Reconnaissance Vehicle project," Minister Ciobo said.
The Boxer CRV will enable Army to locate, monitor and engage with enemy forces and ensure Australian soldiers are protected in combat. The vehicles will fill seven different roles on the battlefield: reconnaissance, command and control, joint fires, surveillance, ambulance, battlefield repair and recovery.
Defence Minister Christopher Pyne welcomed the announcement, saying, "This is a fantastic story for Australian industry, to be part of producing a world-beating capability for the Australian Army.
"The Boxer will help our troops fight and win on the modern battlefield, with an unprecedented level of protection, firepower and mobility."
The ADF will introduce several variants of the Boxer, with the reconnaissance variant accounting for 133 of the 211 vehicles, equipped with Rheinmetall’s cutting-edge Lance turret system and armed with a 30mm automatic cannon.
The Boxer CRV was selected after rigorous trials conducted by the ADF. The Boxer CRV was chosen in 2016 as one of two candidates for risk mitigation activity trials, where the 8x8 wheeled armoured vehicle performed convincingly in the categories of survivability, mobility, firepower, and command and control.
Rheinmetall Defence Australia will deliver 211 Boxer 8x8 CRVs as part of the $5.2 billion LAND 400 Phase 2 project. Australia's Boxer CRVs will be built in Queensland at a specialised Military Vehicle Centre of Excellence in Ipswich.
The German company is also presenting the Lynx Infantry Fighting Vehicle to the $10-15 billion LAND 400 Phase 3 project, which will see the recapitalisation of the Vietnam-era M113 Armoured Personnel Carrier force with an IFV and APC.