The Minister for Defence Industry Christopher Pyne and Minister for Defence Senator Marise Payne today congratulated Thales Australia on its innovative Hawkei Protected Mobility Vehicle design, which has won a major award at the 2016 Eureka Prize for ‘Outstanding Science in Safeguarding Australia’.
Thales Australia has entered into a contract with Defence to supply 1100 Hawkei Light Protected Mobility Vehicles, plus 1058 companion trailers.
Minister Pyne said under the terms of the contract, at least 50 per cent of the manufacturing and production costs are to occur in Australia with the contract expected to support more than 170 jobs this financial year.
“Thales Australia has also identified around fifteen Australian companies as major suppliers including provision of sub-frames, steering, hydraulics, cooling, driveline, bonnet, dashboard, paint and weapon mounts,” Minister Pyne said.
“The use of other Australian subcontractors is expected to create in the order of a further 60 jobs.”
Senator Payne said the Australian Museum Eureka Prizes are one of Australia’s premier and most comprehensive awards scheme for outstanding science.
“The Prizes reward excellence in the fields of research and innovation, science leadership, school science and science communication,” Minister Payne said.
“The Defence Science and Technology Group and Thales Australia have been working collaboratively through their Industry Alliance framework to conduct armour research which provides high levels of survivability.
“Through science and innovation, new armour materials are being developed that will reduce the weight of the vehicle while continuing to afford the required levels of protection the Australian Defence Force needs.”
Low-rate initial production at Thales’s Bendigo facility is scheduled to begin in the third quarter of 2017, with full-rate production to start in 2018. The first five vehicles were delivered to Defence’s world-class test facilities at Monegeetta in July 2016.