Melbourne-based manufacturer Tectonica Australia has won a A$25 million contract to provide sophisticated camera technology aimed at boosting safety for the Army’s Boxer armoured vehicles. The deal is with Boxer maker Rheinmetall Defence Australia the Army’s new Boxer 8×8 Combat Reconnaissance Vehicles (CRVs) delivered under the Commonwealth of Australia’s Mounted Combat Reconnaissance Capability project (LAND 400 Phase 2). Under this contract, Tectonica will deliver its ALTERATM Local Situation Awareness System (LSAS) on all BOXER 8×8 CRVs to be manufactured at Rheinmetall’s Military Vehicle Centre of Excellence (MILVEHCOE) from 2021. The LSAS uses visual technologies to provide vehicle crews and operators with improved situational awareness by enabling them to see their surrounding environment by day and by night while remaining protected under armour.

This is the second LAND 400 Phase 2 contract awarded to Tectonica, following on from the September 2019 award to install LSAS on vehicles on the early capability delivery fleet of BOXER 8×8 CRVs currently being built in Europe.

Contributing to the Australian government’s focus on becoming one of the world’s top 10 defence exporters, Tectonica has also secured a significant export contract to design, develop, manufacture, and export its BANTAMTM data and power distribution system to the Germany Army under a contract with Rheinmetall Electronics. The technology will be deployed through the Bundeswehr’s Very High Readiness Joint Task Force (VJTF) and is fitted to every soldier wearing a computerised backpack.

Developed in Australia, with the support of the Defence Science Technology and Australian Defence Force to reduce the bulk and weight carried by soldiers, the BANTAMTM power system distributes power from a central source and gives the dismounted soldier the freedom to concentrate on their mission, confident that the modular high-tech power management device will last the duration of their mission.

Tectonica’s Managing Director, David Levy said, “Our partnership with Rheinmetall is a great example of industry working together to strengthen the Australian Defence Force and build sovereign industry capability”.

Three other Australian businesses – Sydney-based GPC Electronics, Adelaide-based Century Manufacturing and Yerriyong-based Air Affairs Australia – will share in A$8 million worth of work to provide the processing and storage components for high performance computing and network devices. These devices, known as Tactical Edge Servers, are designed and developed by Queensland-based Boeing Defence Australia.

Tactical Edge Servers have been successfully tested in some of the most demanding conditions, and are ideally suited to withstand the hostile environment and combat conditions the Boxer 8×8 Combat Reconnaissance Vehicles may encounter. Rheinmetall Defence Australia will deliver 211 Boxer 8×8 Combat Reconnaissance Vehicles to replace Army’s Australian Light Armoured Vehicles, under the LAND 400 Phase 2 Mounted Combat Reconnaissance Capability project.

“Our Australian SME supply chain’s capability, quality, and attention to detail is matched by their willingness to continue to innovate,” said Boeing Defence Australia’s vice president and managing director, Scott Carpendale. “Their collaboration and industry relationships are critical to our ability to deliver complex defence programs. Our success in being able to design and develop a multi-purpose product that can be integrated into varying programs and platforms becomes their success, now and in the future.”

The TES forms part of a scalable deployable computer architecture that has been incorporated into in a range of man-portable, deployable and vehicle mounted solutions, including the Bushmaster Protected Mobility Vehicle. This makes the TES ideally suited to withstand the remote, demanding and hostile environment and combat conditions to be encountered by each BOXER 8×8 CRV.

“Incorporating the TES into the BOXER 8×8 CRV provides the Commonwealth with a common, highly capable device that can be used across multiple programs.  We were made aware of this through shared knowledge across our network of people.  All components are designed, developed and manufactured in Australia and this is testament to the new opportunities for SMEs to grow into the expanding Defence market,” said Rheinmetall’s General Manager – L400 Phase 3/Head of Marketing and Strategy, Lee Davis. “Further demonstrating commonality and scalability we have also integrated the TES into our LYNX KF-41 Infantry Fighting Vehicle (IFV) which shares a common architecture with what we are developing under the BOXER program. Our Land 400 Phase 3 vehicles will include this leading edge Australian capability.”

Using components that are locally designed, produced and maintained also means that equipment servicing can be managed through a local supply chain. This supports a truly sovereign technology and support solution and complete surety of supply that would otherwise be impacted if components were produced offshore.

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