Rheinmetall Defence Australia, in partnership with Wollongong-based Bisalloy Steel Group, has announced an extension of its longstanding teaming agreement to support the delivery of Rheinmetall’s Australian manufactured Boxer 8×8 combat reconnaissance vehicles (CRV).
Rheinmetall and Bisalloy are currently working together in Australia and Germany to create specialised grades of Bisalloy armour steel for application on the Boxer 8×8 CRVs to be delivered to the Commonwealth of Australia’s LAND 400 Phase 2 program.
Bisalloy is two years into the development of new grades of armour steel in order to meet the exacting protection levels required for each Boxer 8×8 CRV. Once certified, Bisalloy steel will produce the best protection for Australian soldiers to ensure they survive and win in combat.
Bisalloy Steel Group chief executive and managing director Greg Albert said the company was proud to be part of a new military vehicle industry for Australia – and deliver world-class armour steel to the ADF.
“Bisalloy has long worked in partnership with Australian steel producers, defence scientists and manufacturers of military vessels and vehicles to produce what we believe are some of the best armour plate products in the world,” Albert said.
Bisalloy’s new armour steel is in the final stages of German government qualification process.
Rheinmetall Defence Australia managing director Gary Stewart said qualification of Australian steel for the Boxer program would reconfirm Bisalloy’s status as a world-class supplier of armour grade steel.
“Apart from ensuring supply to the LAND 400 Phase 2 vehicles, it will also qualify Bisalloy to work globally with Rheinmetall on future projects, including LAND 400 Phase 3 and other offshore defence programs,” Stewart said.
Listed on the ASX and operating for 40 years, Bisalloy is Australia’s only manufacturer of high tensile and abrasion-resistant quenched and tempered steel plate used for armour, structural, protection and wear-resistant steel applications.
Australia’s only manufacturer of impact-resistant, armour and protection grade steels, Bisalloy has a long history of collaboration with the ADF.
Developed in the 1980s for use in the hulls of the Royal Australian Navy’s Adelaide Class frigate, Bisalloy armour steel has since been used in several other local defence projects, including the Bushmaster infantry mobility vehicles.
Bisalloy armour steel has become a leading product for defence applications in Australia and abroad and is specified for hulls in armoured personnel carriers (APC), light armoured vehicles (LAV), Collins Class submarines and the Bushmaster infantry mobility vehicles in Australia, along with many APCs and LAVs worldwide.
The $5.2 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 Military Vehicle Centre of Excellence (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, amounts 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 8 kilometres, while the non-line-of-sight variant can hit targets up to 25 kilometresaway.
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.