A $130 million contract to manufacture and assemble high-mobility commando vehicles for the Australian Defence Force is in its final stages.
NSW-based engineering company Baker and Provan were put to task in 2014 to build 89 off-road Supacat vehicles, which can hit up to 110km/h and are worth close to $1.5 million apiece.
“Supplies are coming from different parts of Australia, but the major –employment opportunities have occurred in St Marys,” managing director Peter Baker, who served in the army for 20 years, told The Standard.
“There is always a need for jobs — better-paid, more skilled jobs — and it has had that effect. “A lot of people have enjoyed doing this kind of work — it’s just unfortunate it will come to an end.
“This is a little different from the run-of-the-mill work we’ve done over the years, but this has been a good opportunity.”
The Supacats can easily travel at 110km/h along the M4 and are built to go off road. Each vehicle is worth nearly $1.5 million and takes six months to build.
The vehicles will be used by two commando regiments at Holsworthy and Moorebank and take six months to assemble. Some were also due to be exported to New Zealand.
“We have made them to the best of our ability,” Baker continued said. “They should be fit for overseas service.
“It’s amazing, on reflection, (to see) how far we’ve come in two years — to start from nothing and now have a fully operational facility, building a very good vehicle for the Defence Force.”