Thales Australia has unveiled the Hawkei lightweight Protected Mobility Vehicle (PMV-L) developed to meet the Australian Defense Forces Land121 program and key export customers. “In developing the Hawkei, we have taken the lessons learned building the highly successful Bushmaster and, in combination with our partners, applied that thinking and experience to the new vehicle,” said Ian Irving, Thales Australia’s Land & Joint Systems Division Vice President.
Under the Australinan ‘Project Overlander’ – defence project ‘Land 121 Phase 4’, the Australian Department of Defence will procure 1,300 Protected Mobility Vehicles – Light (PMV-L) vehicles and trailers to replace the existing fleet of Landrovers. This program will procure four PMV-L variants – Command, Liaison, Reconnaissance and Utility – all offering very high levels of protection from small arms fire, mines and Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs). Deliveries are expected to begin in 2013.
Thales is designing Hawkei to become a fully integrated node on the network centric battlefield. The vehicle is designed to accommodate the future system demands of adaptive campaigning, with C4I (Command, Control, Communications, Computers and Intelligence) capabilities a fundamental part of its DNA.
Armor Protection Strategy
A systems approach to vehicle protection includes high levels of mine blast protection integrated into the Hawkei’s hull design, while its adaptable ballistic protection technology is designed to be easily removed for air transportation and then refitted by a two-person crew in less than 30 minutes without using specialized equipment. This innovative design allows the Hawkei to be operated in full protection configuration that can then be reconfigured and upgraded for specific mission threats.
“Hawkei is a new, next generation vehicle representing a genuine advance in design and innovation. All of the technology building blocks are battle proven and validated through operations, and have now been incorporated into a low risk design representing the next generation of vehicle system.”
Industry Teamning for the PMV-L
Thales Australia has teamed with the Israeli company Plasan Sasa to develop the new Light Protected Vehicle to address the Australian Army requirement. Boeing Australia, supported by the company’s Integrated Logistics Support (ILS) services, has also joined the team to provide logistical support for the new vehicles.
The Australian Thales led team is expected to face competition from the U.S., as Australia has expressed interest in the new joint tactical light vehicle (JLTV) and is already investing in the production of several test vehicles, as part of the U.S. program. Israel is also expected to join the U.S. program soon.