BRISBANE: Rheinmetall today announced the opening of its Military Vehicle Centre of Excellence (MILVEHCOE) in Redbank, Queensland, Australia and the establishment of a new national sovereign military vehicle capability that enables the design, development and local manufacture of military vehicles, platforms and turrets for the Australian Defence Force (ADF) and export to like-minded nations.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison officially opened the MILVEHCOE at a ceremony Oct 11 attended by a delegation of Federal MPs and Senators from across Queensland, representatives from Department of Defence and the Australian defence industry.
The MILVEHCOE is an 11ha precinct incorporating a regional headquarters for Rheinmetall and a major manufacturing hub that will deliver vehicles into the ADF including Boxer 8×8 Combat Reconnaissance Vehicles (CRV) under Australia’s billion project Land 400 Phase 2 and high mobility logistics trucks under the Land 121 Phase 3B/5B programme.
Rheinmetall AG Chief Executive Armin Papperger said the MILVEHCOE heralded a new era in Australian manufacturing as the company transferred technology and systems from Germany to establish a global hub for the continuous design, manufacture, export and support for military vehicles, platforms and turrets.
Papperger said the MILVEHCOE’s 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,” Papperger said. “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 programmes for current and future nations including NATO members such as Germany and Hungary,” Papperger said.
The MILVEHCOE precinct 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; An indoor firing range – 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; and Facilities for engineering, training, procurement, project management, finance, legal, marketing and management.
Rheinmetall Defence Australia Managing Director Gary Stewart said the MILVEHCOE would transform the company’s ability to deliver for the ADF and Rheinmetall customers globally. “This facility has dramatically advanced our business in Australia and the way we engage with the Australian Defence Force and industry,” Stewart said.
“Once fully operational, it will enable the manufacture and sustainment of the Australian Army vehicle fleet of BOX vehicles and provide a sovereign facility where the Department of Defence, industry and research organisations can innovate and collaborate on the Australian Boxer and other defence programmes. Rheinmetall is establishing an advanced manufacturing workforce of more than 450 employees within the MILVEHCOE precinct including highly skilled and qualified workers across a range of specialist disciplines.
“We are hiring welders, vehicle mechanics, systems and integration engineers, electro-optics technicians, software coders and developers and other specialisations,” Stewart said. “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.”
These programmes will see the design, development, manufacture and sustainment of a world class military vehicles and a 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. The Boxer’s key purpose is to find the enemy; to identify them and choose how and when to engage. The company is also delivering more than 2,500 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 programme.
Rheinmetall has also offered the Lynx KF41 – a tracked, highly protected Infantry Fighting Vehicle – to meet the stringent military requirements of the $15 billion Land 400 Phase 3 programme. The Australian Army needs a new IFV for close combat – to close in and defeat an enemy in the most dangerous and lethal environments for Australian soldiers.
“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,” Stewart said. –shp/mgm (Photo: Rheinmetall)