Evaluation of new combat vehicles for the Australian Army will sonn begin, with the delivery of the first Hawkei protected vehicle by Thales, for Project LAND 121 Phase 4. Supacat also delivered the first improved Special Operations Vehicles (SOV) developed under Project JP2097 Phase 1B. Defense-Update reports.
Thales Australia has handed over the first Hawkei protected mobility vehicle (PMV) and trailer prototypes to the Australian Army. Hawkei was the preferred platform for the Australian Defence A$1.5bn Project LAND 121 Phase 4 program.
In 2011 Thales was awarded A$38 million contract by the Australian Department of Defence (DoD) to develop and deliver six prototype Hawkei vehicles and one trailer, to the Australian Defence Forces (ADF) for testing, evaluation and user assessment trials.
The remaining five prototypes are scheduled for delivery by June 2013, after then the vehicles will undergo a comprehensive testing program, including communication system integration testing, reliability growth trials, survivability testing and user assessments throughout the year.
Under LAND 121 Phase 4 the Australian Defence is planning to buy up to 1,300 protected and unprotected light vehicles, beginning 2015, gradually replacing the Army’s existing Land Rover vehicle fleet.
Another program to enter prototype evaluation is Project JP2097 Phase 1B – the fielding of an improved Special Operations Vehicles (SOV). In April 2012 Supacat was selected to develop and deliver the prototype SOV. The vehicle can carry a range of weapons, communications and surveillance equipment meeting special operations specific and unique requirements. Following that win, the company has established a engineering design and analysis facility in Melbourne, manned by 18 engineers. It is the first facility Supacat has opened outside the UK. Supacat delivered the first prototype for testing in December 2012.