Following the news that Thales Australia rolled out the 1,000th Hawkei Protected Mobility Vehicle-Light (PMV-L) for the Australian Defence Force (ADF), Tushar M, Defence Analyst at GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company, offers his view: “The Australian Department of Defence had signed a $980.4 million contract with Thales Australia in October 2015 for the procurement of 1,100 Hawkei vehicles and 1,058 trailers, all of which were to be delivered by 2022. The Hawkei PMV-L is expected to significantly enhance the protection level of soldiers from blasting and ballistic threats, thereby enabling them to operate in high-risk areas. Although Hawkei production continues at a swift pace, without the COVID-19 pandemic causing any major delay, the program has been plagued with a braking system issue that was identified within a few months after initiation of the full rate production.
“In March 2022, the army announced that it will not accept the remaining Hawkei into service until it is safe to operate. Due to these factors, the induction of these vehicles is now expected to be completed in 2023, post rectification of the braking system issue. Thales Australia is currently working on resolving the safety issue on the remaining vehicles to the contracted standard. According to Thales, an undisclosed number of vehicles have already been delivered to the ADF.
“Furthermore, based on the specifications and the modular capabilities, the Hawkei also provides the company with a high-potential export offering for military and law enforcement agencies worldwide. Apart from the Hawkei, Thales Australia has also received a $67.5m order for forty-three Bushmaster 4×4 Protected Mobility Vehicles for the New Zealand Army. This deal is crucial for securing approximately 300 direct jobs at the Bendigo factory and another 200 jobs in the supply factory over the next two years.
“Hawkei PMV-L is equipped with a blast management system to mitigate the devastating effects of improvised explosive devices (IED) explosion. The vehicle also features Plasan’s Super Multi-hit Armor Technology (SMART), which enables the users to customise the required protection level as per the operational requirement. Hawkei can be configured for Liaison, Command, and Reconnaissance roles using the modular mission-kit. This unique capability will help the army in reducing the deployment time and the associated operational costs.
“Hawkei can perform wide range of missions including patrolling, logistics supply, and reconnaissance. It can easily be upgraded to undertake specific assignments. Furthermore, the addition of the Remotely Controlled Weapon Station (RCWS) can also convert the vehicle into a light armoured fighting vehicle. Due to the enhanced modularity and scalability, the vehicle increases the range of options available with the military planners. Apart from offering enhanced protection levels, the vehicle is also designed to incorporate advanced C4I capabilities and is also capable of being rapidly transported using a standard cargo aircraft or a transport helicopter.”