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Hawkei Light Protected Vehicle

Hawkei is a lightweight protected vehicle designed and developed to meet the requirements of the Australian Defence Force (ADF).


Four to six soldiers (including driver)

Designer and manufacturer

Thales Group


Australia Defence Force (ADF)




Hawkei lightweight protected vehicle

Hawkei is a lightweight protected vehicle designed and developed to meet the requirements of the Australian Defence Force (ADF). The vehicle is manufactured by Thales Australia for the Department of Defence’s Land 121 phase 4 programme that aims to replace the Australian Army’s Land Rovers. The vehicle is named after a stealthy species of death adder, Acanthophis Hawkei, a native of Australia. The Hawkei is a prototype vehicle and can accommodate six soldiers. It is designed to be protected from blasting and ballistic missiles.

“The Hawkei design encompasses high levels of blast and ballistic protection.”

The vehicle weighs approximately 7,000kg and is developed as a next-generation light mobility vehicle. It was officially launched on 29 September 2009 and will replace unarmoured Land Rovers. The Hawkei can be airlifted by a C-130 Hercules transport or other standard cargo aircraft. It can travel at a maximum speed of 100km/h over a range of more than 1,000km.

Hawkei has been tested against improvised explosive devices (IED) to ensure that its design allows for maximum protection. Tests were conducted to gather the data and modernise the blast management system equipped in the vehicle. The first series of mine blast test on the Hawkei vehicle’s passenger compartment were completed on 26 November 2009.

Hawkei orders and deliveries

The forecast report of the ADF stated that orders for the Hawkei would not exceed more than 1,300 vehicles.

The first prototype vehicle was unveiled in November 2010 after completion of several blast tests. Thales delivered two prototypes of Hawkei to the ADF in February 2011 for verification and validation. Hawkei was selected as a preferred vehicle for the LAND 121 Phase 4 programme in December 2011.

Thales had delivered six Hawkei vehicles and one trailer prototype to the Australian Army by June 2013. Testing of the vehicles is underway by the Defence Materiel Organisation’s Land Engineering Agency.

Hawkei blast-resistant vehicle design

The Hawkei design encompasses high levels of blast and ballistic protection. The vehicle is designed to incorporate the future system requirements of adaptive campaigning with C4I (command, control, communications, computers and intelligence) capabilities. It can be upgraded for specific missions. The integral V-shaped monocoque hull and blast absorption system provide objective level blast protection.

Hawkei’s hull is designed to protect the vehicle from blasts while incorporating high levels of tactical and operational mobility, and allow easy conversion between variants. The vehicle’s adaptable ballistic protection technology is designed for air transportation, and is reconfigurable by a two-person crew in under half an hour without using specialised devices or equipment.


A remotely controlled weapon station (RCWS) is installed in the Hawkei vehicle. It is an automated control weapon station principally used for light and medium-calibre weapons. The RCWS can accommodate remote control weapons encompassing 5.56mm, 7.62mm, and 12.7mm machine guns, 40mm automatic grenade launchers, anti-tank missiles and observation pods.

The RCWS can accommodate weapons up to 12.7mm machine guns and is manufactured by Samson Technologies Corporation, US.


Thales Australia is the prime contractor in the design and development of Australia’s Hawkei lightweight mobility vehicle. Boeing, Plasan Sasa and PAC Group are partners of Thales, supporting the Hawkei project.

Related project

ACMAT VLRA 4×4 – TPK 4.20 STL Multirole Troop Carrier, France

The VLRA 4×4 – TPK 4.20 STL multirole troop carrier is a member of the VLRA family of vehicles produced by Ateliers de Construction Mécanique de l’Atlantique (ACMAT), a subsidiary of Renault Trucks Defence.

Boeing Defence Australia provides integrated logistic support (ILS) to Thales during the design and development of the Hawkei vehicle. In August 2009, Boeing Defence Australia was awarded a contract by Thales Australia to offer ILS for its Hawkei protected mobility vehicle. The contract encompasses supporting Thales during the design and development phase of the Hawkei vehicle to ensure the vehicle lasts longer while saving costs.

Armour solution provider Plasan Sasa is supporting Thales Australia to achieve the highest levels of protection in the Hawkei lightweight vehicle.

PAC Group has worked closely with Thales Australia to provide a flexible production capability.


The Hawkei vehicle is powered by a Steyr V6 diesel engine manufactured by Steyr Motors GmbH, Austria. The inline starter or generator offers sufficient level of electrical power to drive the C4I and mission equipment.

Defence Technology

The Global Armoured and Counter-IED Vehicle Market 2011-2021

This project forms part of our recent analysis and forecasts of the global armoured and counter-IED vehicle market available from our business information platform Strategic Defence Intelligence. For more information click here or contact us: EMEA: +44 20 7936 6783; Americas: +1 415 439 4914; Asia Pacific: +61 2 9947 9709 or via email.

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