Thales Australia ready to start full-rate production of Hawkei 4x4 protected vehicles

According to a press release published on September 3, 2020, the Australian Department of Defense has announced that Army’s new Australian-designed and built Hawkei 4x4 protected vehicle is ready to enter full-rate production at Thales’ Protected Vehicles facility in Bendigo, Victoria.
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Hawkei 4x4 protected vehicle in a live demonstration at SOFINS, Special Forces Defense Exhibition in France. (Picture source Army Recognition)

Australian Minister for Defence, Senator the Hon. Linda Reynolds CSC said the Hawkei 4x4 protected vehicle has performed exceptionally well throughout comprehensive ballistic and blast testing, meeting Defence’s stringent requirements for protection. The Hawkei is a significant enhancement to the existing land capability that will provide superior mobility, survivability and communications while protecting the lives of our soldiers when operating in increasingly lethal and complex environments.

Under project LAND 121 Phase 4, 1,100 Hawkei vehicles and 1,058 associated trailers will be delivered, with the full rate production vehicles expected to commence delivery from mid-2021. Australian Minister for Defence Industry, Melissa Price said the project demonstrates the Morrison Government’s commitment to maximizing opportunities for the Australian defence industry.

The Hawkei PMV (Protected Mobility Vehicle)  is a light four-wheel drive protected mobility vehicle originally designed to meet an Australian Defence Force (ADF) requirement for a light armored patrol vehicle to replace some of its Land Rover Perentie variants. The vehicle is manufactured by Thales Australia and the first 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 program in December 2011.

The layout of the Hawkei 4x4 light protected vehicle is conventional, with the engine at the front, crew and troops compartment in the center and a large cargo area at the rear. The four doors version has seating for up to 6 military personnel while the 2 doors variant can accommodate 3 people.. The vehicle delivers class-leading protection, mobility and payload with unparalleled levels of blast and ballistic protection for a helicopter transportable vehicle. A high level of built-in blast and ballistic protection is further enhanced by an add-on armor system that can be adapted to meet the threat environment.

The Hawkei 4x4 light protected vehicle is motorized with a six-cylinder, 3.2 liter direct injection diesel engine rated at 225 kW and producing maximum torque of 680 Nm at 2,000 rpm. Transmission is a six-speed automatic transfer case. Fuel capacity of 250 liters gives a range of more than 1,000 km, reduced to 800 km if towing the two-wheel Hawkei trailer.