Peak industry body Weld Australia has announced a collaboration with Rheinmetall Defence Australia to develop a skilled welding workforce ready to deliver major defence industry programs, including LAND 400 Phase 2.
With Rheinmetall having established its Australian headquarters and Military Vehicle Centre of Excellence (MILVEHCOE) in south-east Queensland, local welders need training and qualifications that align with global best-practice to ensure they can deliver world leading Defence capability and reap the benefits of major defence programs such as LAND 400 Phase 2.
Weld Australia chief executive Geoff Crittenden said that Australia is facing a significant shortage of qualified and certified welders.
“Without action, we will be unable to meet future demand for not only defence industry projects, but rolling stock, infrastructure and resources projects. It is vital that Australian welders are properly trained and ready to deliver the $5 billion LAND 400 Phase 2 project. This landmark project is an economic game-changer that is expected to create over 450 jobs at its Military Vehicle Centre of Excellence,” Crittenden explained.
Under a memorandum of understanding, Weld Australia and Rheinmetall will work together to establish accredited and non-accredited welding training outcomes and efficiencies – as well as technical development opportunities – that flow from Commonwealth Defence programs such as the delivery and sustainment of more than 3,500 high mobility logistics trucks to the Australian Army (LAND 1213B/5B) and the manufacture of the Boxer 8x8 combat reconnaissance vehicle (CRV) in Australia under LAND 400 Phase 2.
Focus areas include the importance of certification of Australian companies that work on the Boxer program, including requirements for developing welding capability to the internationally recognised AS/NZS ISO 3834 and DIN 2303.
Rheinmetall Defence Australia managing director Gary Stewart said the company welcomed Weld Australia’s active role in delivering the best training capability to defence industry at a time when the Commonwealth is focused on building significant new capability across the land, air and maritime domains.
“We look forward to working with Weld Australia to ensure local welding teams at manufacturing sites across Australia that supply into defence industry programs such as LAND 400 Phase 2 have world-class training and qualifications,” Stewart added.
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 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 ASLAVs 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.