Defence Minister Linda Reynolds and Defence Industry Minister Melissa Price have welcomed the delivery of the next-stage of critical infrastructure for the delivery of the Boxer CRV under the $5 billion LAND 400 Phase 2 project.
The first elements of the Military Vehicle Centre of Excellence (MILVEHCOE) will be handed over to Rheinmetall Defence Australia in Queensland today.
Minister for Defence Linda Reynolds said this is a next step in the federal government’s over $5 billion investment in the Army’s armoured vehicle capability under LAND 400 (Phase 2).
The MILVEHCOE will be capable of the design, manufacture, sustainment and export of military vehicles, turrets and tactical systems, including the combat reconnaissance vehicle (CRV) program.
"These facilities will be used to support some of the Australian Defence Force’s major new capabilities being delivered under the Commonwealth’s Integrated Investment Plan," Minister Reynolds explained.
"This includes the maintenance of Defence’s new fleet of logistics vehicles, and the production and maintenance of the new Boxer 8x8 combat reconnaissance vehicle capability."
Minister for Defence Industry Melissa Price said the economic benefit to Australia resulting from the federal government’s investment in the project, and the 30-year life of the Boxer capability, will be over $10 billion.
"The MILVEHCOE will draw on an extensive Australian supply network to deliver products and services from local industry into Rheinmetall’s global supply chain," Minister Price said.
"This significant $5 billion program is creating an estimated 1,450 jobs across the country, including 330 jobs in Queensland."
Initially, the facility will be used by Rheinmetall to conduct heavy grade repair, integration and support to Defence’s new logistics vehicles, being delivered under LAND 121 Phase 3B/5B.
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Commencing in 2022, the facility will produce and maintain the Boxer 8x8 CRV capability. The facility is expected to be officially launched in July 2020.
The $5 billion LAND 400 Phase 2 program will have Rheinmetall deliver 211 8x8 Boxer CRVs to the Australian Army.
Under the company's offering to the Commonwealth, Rheinmetall will build a majority of the vehicles at the company's specialised MILVEHCOE in Queensland.
The first 25 vehicles will be built in Germany as part of the technology transfer process, with the remaining vehicles to be built in Australia.
Boxer will replace the ageing ASLAV vehicles that have served with the Australian Army in East Timor, Afghanistan and Iraq.
The Army will accept 133 reconnaissance variants of the Boxer, which will be equipped with Rheinmetall’s cutting-edge Lance 30mm automatic cannon turret system, among a number of other variants.
Joint venture partners Varley Rafael will supply the Spike LR2 Anti-Tank Guided Missile (ATGM) system for the Boxer CRV. The Spike LR2 is a fifth-generation ATGM system, originally developed as a fire-and-forget system.
The vehicle-mounted extended-range variant has a range of eight kilometres, while the non-line-of-sight variant can hit targets up to 25 kilometres away.
The Boxer CRV will support Australian industry, sourcing specialised armoured steel from Australian steel companies BlueScope Steel and Bisalloy, with engineering support provided by Melbourne-based Supacat Asia-Pacific.