Thales Australia will collaborate with Quickstep on the production of Hawkei, a next-generation protected mobility vehicle.
As part of the development, Thales has awarded a pre-contract to Quickstep to use its patented systems to provide strong, light and high-quality components, such as bonnets, side skirts and mud guards suitable for Hawkei’s tough operational requirements.
Thales Australia Protected Vehicles vice-president Kevin Wall said: "Like Thales, Quickstep is recognised for innovation and cutting-edge research.
"Quickstep’s record on projects such as the Joint Strike Fighter and Lamborghini performance cars is testament to their unique skills."
The companies will work together to improve the design of the components of the vehicle at every stage. This will allow Thales to identify savings and maximise performance advantages, resulting in a better product for the Australian Defence Force (ADF).
Work will take place at Quickstep’s Bankstown facility in New South Wales, Australia.
This will be conditional on Thales securing a long-term contract to supply Hawkei vehicles to the Australian Department of Defence.
As part of the LAND 121 Phase four programme, the Department of Defence plans to acquire 1,300 Hawkei vehicles next year to replace the current Australian Army Land Rover fleet.
The final approval of the project is expected in 2015.
The 4×4, six-crew, 7t Hawkei offers unparalleled situational awareness, lethality and survivability.
The vehicle has been developed by Thales in Bendigo, Victoria with the support of Boeing, PAC Group and Plasan, and numerous Australian small and medium-sized enterprises.
Image: Hawkei is a next-generation protected mobility vehicle. Photo: courtesy of Thales Group.