Rheinmetall Defence Australia (RDA) and its next Australian SME partner, Queensland-based Rockpress, have announced an industry partnership to support the delivery of the KF41 Lynx infantry fighting vehicle (IFV) as part of the multibillion-dollar LAND 400 Phase 3 program.
Brisbane-based Rockpress (Rocklea Pressed Metal) has already commenced fabricating components for the LYNX KF41 IFV developed by Rheinmetall Defence Australia (RDA) as part of its offer to the LAND 400 Phase 3 project. A final decision on the $18-$27.1 billion project is expected to be announced in 2022.
Dave Osborne, general manager at Rockpress, said that participating in such an important project was validation of the company’s investment in machining technology, skills development and its production footprint.
"Over the past decade in particular, Rockpress has consistently invested in state-of-the-art equipment, our production line practices and the technical skills of our people; all of which gives us the capacity to take on projects of this scale," Osborne said.
Rockpress has also been a preferred supplier to the Queensland mining sector, including the fabrication of heavy vehicle protection and safety components, which Osborne said stands it in good stead to meet the expectations of the ADF brief.
As a company that started as family-owned business in 1972, Osborne said securing a supply chain role in the LAND 400 Phase 3 project would be an exciting step forward in the evolution of the business.
Osborne added, "Rockpress has a history of expertise in the heavy transport industry and the supply of custom vehicle components, as well as past experience working with the ADF though its supply chain affiliates. If we are successful in our partnership bid with RDA and Team LYNX, we will definitely increase the current workforce of 100 staff."
Rheinmetall is delivering 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.
"Not only would it be a jobs boost for Rockpress, but a project of this magnitude has the potential to add significantly to the local economy. Being part of the Land 400 Phase 3 project would be an encouraging lead-in to our 50th anniversary year in 2022," Osborne said.
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 signing of the Hungarian Armed Forces as the first LYNX customer also means Australian SMEs will see future potential export opportunities for Australia.
Rockpress holds quality assurance accreditation, including environmental and health and safety standards, as well as full certified welding accreditation.
LAND 400 Phase 3 is a multibillion-dollar Army program that will recapitalise Army’s Vietnam-era M113 armoured personnel carrier (APC) force, with a combination of a tracked IFV and tracked APC.