The prime has officially handed over the first set of Boxer CRVs to the Australian Army as part of LAND 400 Phase 2.
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Minister for Defence Peter Dutton has visited Rheinmetall Defence Australia’s Military Vehicle Centre of Excellence (MILVEHCOE) in Redbank, Queensland, to review the first 25 Boxer 8x8 combat reconnaissance vehicles (CRV) built for the Australian Army under the $5.2 billion LAND 400 Phase 2 Mounted Combat Reconnaissance Capability project.
Rheinmetall has been tasked with developing a total of 211 Boxer 8x8 vehicles in different versions, including 131 CRVs, set to replace the Army’s Australian Light Armoured Vehicles (ASLAV).
Rheinmetall Defence Australia managing director Gary Stewart said the Boxer’s “survivability and mobility” was a “game changer” for Australia’s armoured cavalry.
“Boxer is now enabling the capabilities that allow Army to fight, survive and win on the modern, complex battlefields of today and tomorrow,” Stewart said.
“And Rheinmetall is simultaneously delivering early combat vehicle capability to the Australian Defence Force while creating a sovereign industrial capability in combat vehicle design and manufacture.”
Stewart said Rheinmetall Defence Australia leveraged production lines in Germany as part of technology transfer activities, helping to ensure Australian workers and suppliers were familiarised with the necessary manufacturing techniques.
Over 30 Australians are currently living and working in Germany to support the program.
“Australian engineers, project managers, welders, technicians, trainers and more are living and working with their colleagues in Germany to build a deep understanding of Rheinmetall products and, crucially, acquire the skills and certifications to transfer this expertise and intellectual property to Australia,” Stewart added.
“This kick-starts the knowledge base for a sovereign Australian capability and is complemented with our engagement with the Australian TAFE sector and universities to ensure we build enduring pathways from our education institutions into the military vehicle manufacturing industry, enabling graduates to understand what we do today so they are ready to tackle the challenges of tomorrow.”
The Boxer CRVs have been deployed by the Army's 7th Brigade as part of Exercise Diamond Walk at the Shoalwater Bay Training Area in Queensland.
The new platforms will be tested over the coming weeks, with the exercise to conclude on 11 June.
Rheinmetall is also currently bidding for LAND 400 Phase 3, with its LYNX infantry fighting vehicle (IFV) competing against Hanwha Defense Australia’s Redback IFV.
Both platforms are currently undergoing risk mitigation activities alongside its competitor, Hanwha Defense Australia's Redback IFV.
The assessments include mobility, reliability and blast testing.
Defence is also expected to assess contracts, supply chains and maintenance associated with the vehicles, ahead of the government’s recommendation on the preferred tender, scheduled for 2022.