The Federal Government has awarded a contract worth $1.3bn to Thales Australia to produce its Hawkei protected mobility vehicle for the Australian Defence Force (ADF)

The contract involves the delivery of 1,100 vehicles and over 1,000 trailers. The production phase is scheduled to begin from mid-2017 and will last three and a half years, with first deliveries expected towards the end of that year. The Hawkei contract reflects the unique Australian expertise at Thales’s protected vehicles manufacturing facility in Bendigo, as well as its support centres in Brisbane and Townsville.

“This is a great day for the ADF and for Australian industry,” said Chris Jenkins, CEO of Thales in Australia said. “We are proud to have been chosen to deliver this next generation of protected vehicles to our armed forces, and we stand by them ready to support and adapt it as their requirements evolve. We also thank our many suppliers on the program – companies in Australia and overseas that have been with us on this long journey, and who have played a significant role in shaping the Hawkei and contributing to its success. It’s a great story about what Australian industry and international partnerships can achieve.

The Hawkei will become the latest addition to the ADF fleet. Soldiers on operations will benefit from increased protection and mobility in a powerful 4×4 vehicle, which can be adapted for different missions. Hawkei follows the life-saving success of the larger Bushmaster vehicle, which has protected Australian and other troops in some of the most challenging combat environments on earth.

“Hawkei is a highly capable vehicle that will serve this country well for many years to come, and we are delighted that the Department of Defence has recognised the importance of this vehicle by reaching this milestone,” added Jenkins. “As we move into the manufacturing phase, we will now be able to consolidate the work already begun across the Thales group worldwide to ensure the export success of this impressive vehicle.”