German technology firm Rheinmetall announced on Wednesday it has delivered of the first 25 Boxer 8×8 Combat Reconnaissance Vehicles (CRV) to the Australian Army under the $5.2 billion LAND 400 Phase 2 Mounted Combat Reconnaissance Capability project.
Minister for Defence, Hon. Peter Dutton MP visited Rheinmetall Defence Australia’s Military Vehicle Centre of Excellence (MILVEHCOE) in Redbank, Queensland, to review the Boxer vehicles.
Rheinmetall will deliver a total of 211 Boxer 8×8 Vehicles in different versions, 131 will be the CRV variant. They will replace the Army’s Australian Light Armoured Vehicles (ASLAV) under LAND 400 Phase 2. Delivery of the first 25 vehicles enables Army to continue towards Initial Operating Capability on schedule as Rheinmetall moves into the next phase of the LAND 400 Phase 2 program.
Rheinmetall Defence Australia Managing Director Gary Stewart said Boxer’s levels of survivability and mobility was proving 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,” Mr 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.”
Mr Stewart said delivery of these initial vehicles was only possible by taking advantage of the current production lines in Germany, and using this approach as part of technology transfer activities to ensure Australian workers and suppliers become familiar with manufacturing techniques for highly complex military vehicles.
Rheinmetall Defence Australia has over 30 Australians currently living and working in Germany, working at Rheinmetall sites and learning from German colleagues. This is fostering close co-operation and a genuine partnership to realise the capability for the Australian Army.
“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,” Mr Stewart said.
“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 MILVEHCOE is the focal point of the Boxer Australian Industry Capability (AIC) program. It is where Rheinmetall will undertake Australian design, manufacture, testing, training and support of the Boxer vehicles and training systems. The MILVEHCOE provides a sovereign facility where Defence, industry and research organisations can innovate and collaborate on the Australian Boxer and other defence programs.
Development, production and integration work is well underway within the MILVEHCOE as plant and equipment is installed and commissioned across the main production facility. This work is a key component of knowledge transfer activities for full rate Boxer production in Australia. This is scheduled to commence in Australia after commissioning of the MILVEHCOE Boxer production line is complete.
This approach to Australian Industry Capability has allowed Rheinmetall to accelerate involvement of Australian companies into the first 25 vehicles. This has resulted in Rheinmetall awarding contracts to more than 20 companies to supply products and services, and ensuring that Australian SMEs are building and supplying components onto every Australian Boxer vehicle.