by Richard Tomkins
Canberra, Australia (UPI) Nov 16, 2016
The Australian military has received Hawkei armor-protected vehicles from Thales Australia, part of an intial production from a local plant.
The delivery was witnessed by Australia's Minister for Defense Industry Christopher Pyne.
"The Hawkei, built right here in Australia, is another triumph of the capability of our defense industry, which is able to compete with the world's best," he said.
"Hawkei production will involve about 170 jobs in the Bendigo region [of Queensland]. It's expected approximately 60 additional jobs will be created in Thales' supply chain to support the production of the Hawkei vehicle."
The Hawkei is a 4x4 that carries four troops and can be airlifted by Chinook helicopters. They are for reconnaissance, liaison, command and utility functions.
It has an operational range of about 373 miles.
The Department of Defense signed a billion-dollar contract with Thales Australia last year for production of 1,100 Hawkei vehicles and more than 1000 companion trailers.
The initial production run is 10 vehicles. Full-rate production begins in 2018.
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