Rheinmetall Defence Australia has signed a five year strategic research and development alliance agreement with Defence Science and Technology (DST) to work collaboratively to develop autonomous vehicle systems for land based platforms in Australia.
The agreement builds on Rheinmetall’s longstanding relationship with DST in the area of simulation and augmented reality and will focus on the development of autonomous technology to support land based platforms in the Australian Defence Force.
This will include research and development around capabilities to support the BOXER Combat Reconnaissance Vehicle capability Rheinmetall is delivering to the Australian Defence Force under the $5.2 billion Land 400 Phase 2 program.
Rheinmetall Defence Australia managing director Gary Stewart welcomed the new agreement as the first of a series of announcements focused on building the company’s research and development footprint in Australia and establishing a sovereign military vehicle capability in Australia.
“Rheinmetall has significant expertise across autonomous systems in both the commercial automotive and defence sectors and we look forward to working collaboratively with the high calibre team at DST to bring this capability to Australia and explore its potential for the ADF,” he said.
“This is just one way Rheinmetall is building a sovereign military vehicle capability in Australia to support the ADF.”
Rheinmetall’s capabilities in autonomous land platforms for defence include the BOXER JODAA operational and technology demonstrator which has been built for the German Bundeswehr and tests a range of technical capabilities including remote controlled driving supported by camera systems to autonomous operations including the operation of unmanned aerial or ground vehicles.
Stewart said the partnership with DST would also introduce future academic and commercial partners into the autonomous vehicles program.
Rheinmetall will deliver 211 BOXER CRV vehicles from a purpose-built Military Vehicle Centre of Excellence in Ipswich Queensland under the Land 400 Phase 2 program. This followed a rigorous program of trials conducted by the Commonwealth which determined BOXER was the best protected, most mobile and lethal combat reconnaissance vehicle in the world.
Rheinmetall has also invested $2.5 million in the development of a new “Accelerated Endurance Course” at Linfox’s Australian Automotive Research Centre (AARC) near Anglesea, Victoria
“We look forward to announcing future developments as Rheinmetall grows its research and development capabilities in Australia,” Stewart said.