Rheinmetall has delivered the first 25 examples of the BOXER Combat Reconnaissance Vehicle (CRV) to the Australian Army under the A$5.2 billion (€3.3 billion) LAND 400 Phase 2 Mounted Combat Reconnaissance Capability project, the company announced on 2 June.
The company is to deliver a total of 211 BOXER 8x8 vehicles, of which 131 will be the CRV variant, replacing the current Australian Light Armoured Vehicle (ASLAV). Delivery of the first 25 vehicles enables the Army to continue towards Initial Operating Capability on schedule.
Rheinmetall Defence Australia Managing Director, Gary Stewart, observed that BOXER’s levels of survivability and mobility are proving a game changer for Australia’s armoured cavalry. “BOXER is now enabling the capabilities that allow Army to fight, survive and win on the modern, complex battlefields of today and tomorrow [and] Rheinmetall is simultaneously delivering early combat vehicle capability to the Australian Defence Force, while creating a sovereign industrial capability in combat vehicle design and manufacture […] Australian engineers, project managers, welders, technicians, trainers and more are living and working with their colleagues in Germany to build a deep understanding of Rheinmetall products and, crucially, acquire the skills and certifications to transfer this expertise and intellectual property to Australia […] This kick-starts the knowledge base for a sovereign Australian capability and is complemented with our engagement with the Australian TAFE sector and universities to ensure we build enduring pathways from our education institutions into the military vehicle manufacturing industry, enabling graduates to understand what we do today so they are ready to tackle the challenges of tomorrow.”
The Military Vehicles Centre of Excellence (MILVEHCOE) is the focal point of the BOXER Australian Industry Capability (AIC) programme, and is where Rheinmetall will undertake Australian design, manufacture, testing, training and support of the Boxer vehicles and training systems. It offers a sovereign facility where Defence, industry and research organisations can innovate and collaborate on the Australian BOXER and other defence programmes.
Development, production and integration work is well underway within the MILVEHCOE as plant and equipment is installed and commissioned across the main production facility. This work is a key component of knowledge transfer activities for full rate BOXER production in Australia, which is scheduled to commence after commissioning of the MILVEHCOE BOXER production line is complete. This approach to AIC has allowed Rheinmetall to accelerate involvement of Australian companies into the first 25 vehicles: contracts have been awarded to over 20 companies, ensuring that Australian SMEs are building and supplying components for every Australian BOXER.