The Australian Defence Force (ADF) has taken delivery of two new Hawkei vehicles from Thales, as part of a $1.3bn contract signed in October 2015.
Under the contract, Thales Australia is required to produce 1,100 Hawkei vehicles and more than 1,000 companion trailers.
Australian Defence Industry Minister Christopher Pyne said: “Hawkei production will involve about 170 jobs in the Bendigo region. It’s expected approximately 60 additional jobs will be created in Thales’ supply chain to support the production of the Hawkei vehicle.
“On top of that around 35 jobs, primarily in Queensland, will be created to sustain the vehicles.
“The vehicle represents an entirely new capability for the army, providing a similar level of protection to a Bushmaster at about half the weight.”
Full production of the pilot Hawkei vehicles will begin in 2018, while delivery of the vehicles and trailers to the ADF will be completed by late 2021.
The Hawkei carries up to four troops and provides protection against ballistic threats in high-risk areas.
The vehicles can be used to perform reconnaissance, liaison, command and utility functions, as well as troop movement and electronic warfare.
The Hawkeis are the last in an initial run of ten vehicles to roll off the Thales production line in Bendigo, the Australian Department of Defence said in a statement.
Image: Officials from Thales, the ADF and the Australian Department of Defence stand in front of one of the newly delivered Hawkei vehicles. Photo: courtesy of Commonwealth of Australia, Department of Defence.