Rheinmetall has opened a new Military Vehicle Centre of Excellence (MILVEHCOE) in Queensland, Australia, thus establishing a national sovereign military vehicle capability that can design, develop and manufacture military vehicles, platforms and turrets both for the Australian Defence Force (ADF) and for export to allied nations.
The 11 hectare facility, which includes both a regional headquarters for Rheinmetall and a major manufacturing hub, was opened by the Prime Minister of Australia the Hon Scott Morrison MP, at a ceremony attended by a delegation of Federal MPs and Senators from across Queensland as well as representatives from Defence and Australian Defence industry.
The new MILVEHCOE facility includes:
- Engineering and manufacturing for vehicles, turrets, weapons, armour, electronics and electro-optics and simulators
- A vehicle test track and electromagnetic test chamber – used to confirm that vehicles meet the agreed performance specifications prior to delivery to the Australian Army
- A fully-enclosed, state-of-the-art firing range
- A systems integration laboratory – used to integrate and optimise performance of Australian Army systems and equipment into the vehicles
- Facilities for engineering, training, procurement, project management, finance, legal, marketing and management
The facility will be staffed by an advanced manufacturing workforce of more than 450 employees, including highly skilled and qualified workers across a range of specialist disciplines. In addition to the design, development, manufacture and sustainment of advanced military vehicles, it will also focus on research and development of vehicle technologies including autonomous systems and new civilian vehicle capabilities.
Rheinmetall is currently delivering 211 Boxer vehicles to the Australian Army under Land 400 Phase 2. These vehicles are designed to locate and identify enemy forces and choose how and when to engage. The company is also delivering more than 2500 protected high mobility trucks to the Australian Army under the Land 121 Phase 3B program and building on this logistics backbone for the ADF by supplying a further 1000 trucks to the Commonwealth through the Land 121 Phase 3B/5B program.
Rheinmetall has also offered the Lynx KF41 – a tracked, highly protected Infantry Fighting Vehicle (IFV) – to meet the stringent military requirements of the $15 billion Land 400 Phase 3 program. The company hopes that the vehicle will meet Australian Army needs for a new IFV for close combat that can effectively close in and defeat hostile threats in extremely dangerous environments.
Armin Papperger, Rheinmetall AG Chief Executive, said that the MILVEHCOE heralded a new era in Australian manufacturing as the company transferred technology and systems from Germany, and its export focus would also drive the sustainable growth of a military vehicle industry in Australia that would draw on an expanding supply network across the nation to deliver products and services from local industry into Rheinmetall’s Global Supply Chain. “This state of the art MILVEHCOE establishes a leading edge military vehicle capability that will build on the strong partnership between Rheinmetall and the ADF. Moreover, it will enable Australian developed technology and systems to be exported to the world and opens the way for Australian companies to deliver into our programs for current and future nations including NATO members such as Germany and Hungary.”
Gary Stewart, Rheinmetall Defence Australia Managing Director, said that the new centre would transform the company’s ability to provide for both the ADF and Rheinmetall customers around the world. “This facility has dramatically advanced our business in Australia and the way we engage with the Australian Defence Force and industry. Once fully operational, it will enable the manufacture and sustainment of the Australian Army vehicle fleet of BOXER vehicles and provide a sovereign facility where Defence, industry and research organisations can innovate and collaborate on the Australian Boxer and other defence programs.”
“We are hiring welders, vehicle mechanics, systems and integration engineers, electro-optics technicians, software coders and developers and other specialisations. Rheinmetall continues to invest in people, technology, infrastructure, program management, supporting functions and industry networks so we can deliver some of the most complex and advanced programs in the world and meet the demands of customers for military vehicles, electronic systems, simulation, training and support.”
“Design, development and manufacture of the in Australia for the ADF will also build on the advanced manufacturing jobs at the MILVEHCOE as well as a strong industrial network of SMEs across Australia.”