Rheinmetall Defence Australia (RDA) has announced a partnership with Queensland Gaskets to support the company’s KF41 Lynx tender for the $18 billion LAND 400 Phase 3 program, joining a growing team of Australian SMEs to deliver three LYNX KF41 infantry fighting vehicles to the Australian Defence Force for Risk Mitigation Activity (RMA) trials over the next 12 months.
The Australian Army needs a new IFV for close combat – to close in and defeat an enemy in the most dangerous and lethal environments for Australian soldiers, supporting this endeavour, Queensland Gaskets has been selected as a partner to supply componentry and an assembly of parts to manufacture the new Lynx, a next-generation IFV that is designed to deliver Australian troops in combat with world leading protection.
Queensland Gaskets managing director Carl Quarterman said, "Our collaboration with Rheinmetall has provided a great opportunity to showcase the breadth of our manufacturing capabilities – from consultation and gasket cutting to part assembly and everything in between."
The opportunity to utilise local, skilled and high-quality manufacturers was a core consideration for Rheinmetall when engaging Queensland Gaskets to join Team Lynx.
"We are an Australian company with a global supply network built over our 67-year history in industry. This means we have the skills and capability to deliver into complex, high quality, large-scale projects," Quarterman said.
Rheinmetall will deliver three Lynx vehicles to compete in RMA trials conducted in Australia from November 2020. The extensive testing regime, considered world leading, will put vehicles through a range of trials including lethality, mobility and blast tests.
If successful, the Lynx fleet will be manufactured in Queensland at Rheinmetall’s new Military Vehicle Centre of Excellence at Redbank south-west of Brisbane. The recent signing of the Hungarian Armed Forces as the first Lynx customer also means Australian SMEs will see future potential export opportunities for Australia.
Queensland Gaskets is a solutions-based expert. After an initial consultation, the team worked with Rheinmetall engineers to create the specialised part that matched the project’s requirements within two months.
"Specific premium-grade materials including metal, foam and rubber were sourced through our network of suppliers. Components were cut by the team on our CNC router and water jet cutter, followed by the hand assembly of parts at our factory in Brisbane," Mr Quarterman said.
The value-adding end-to-end process that Queensland Gaskets takes ensures that the parts it manufactures meet the high standards required to ensure the protection of Australian soldiers in combat. This helps place Rheinmetall in a strong position to win the tender for this national defence project by engagement with local industry.
Lynx has been selected by the Hungarian Armed Forces for the delivery of more than 200 vehicles in the first launch order for the vehicle globally. Rheinmetall Defence Australia will export turrets to the value of $150 million manufactured by Australians – and will soon announce further export orders into the Hungarian program, including orders for Australian SMEs.
Rheinmetall is also delivering 211 8x8 Boxer combat reconnaissance vehicles (CRV) to the Australian Army after the vehicle was selected by the Commonwealth after 12 months of RMA trials by Australian Defence Force personnel in 2016-17.
The company is establishing a local industrial capability in Australia for the design, development and manufacture of military vehicles that creates high technology enduring jobs for hundreds of Australians by localising design and manufacturing expertise in electro-optics, weapon systems, fire control and sensor systems, turret manufacturing, variant design and manufacture, integration, armour systems, simulation, training and fleet sustainment.
LAND 400 Phase 3 is a multibillion-dollar Army program, which will recapitalise Army’s Vietnam-era M113 armoured personnel carrier (APC) force, with a combination of a tracked IFV and tracked APC.