Manufacturing News

$1.3 billion Hawkei contract a boost for regional manufacturing, jobs

Prime minister Malcolm Turnbull has announced a $1.3 billion contract for Thales Australia to build 1,100 new Protected Mobility Vehicles (PMVs) in Bendigo.

Reuters and others report that pilot production will begin next year and full production in 2018, with the vehicles a lighter version of the Bushmaster, also made at Bendigo. A claimed 170 jobs will be created for the project.

“The government should drive a hard bargain and get the right equipment at the best price, but we shouldn’t be blind to the collateral spillover benefits of well-targeted military spending to domestic manufacturing,” The Australian reports Turnbull as saying.

“The Hawkei’s parent, the Bushmaster, has already been sold to Britain, Japan and the Netherlands.”

The Australian Industry Group praised the contract as good news for regional manufacturing.

"More than 100 Victorian-based companies are part of Thales Australia's supply chain for Bushmaster, proving the ingenuity, confidence and innovation which this company places in this advanced technology sector,” chief executive Innes Willox said in a statement.

"Hawkei will contribute further to this major regional stimulus, boosting confidence in our local industry and Australian manufacturing.”

The vehicles come with a v-shaped monocoque hull, resist to resist blasts from IEDs. The Hawkei also has four-wheel steering, is able to carry a three-tonne payload, can carry four to six troops, and is the only PMV in the ADF that can be transported by Chinook helicopter.

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