Hawkei kicks off new bid

Steve Kendall | Bendigo Weekly | 10-Jun-2016

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THALES is putting itself front and centre in a bid to secure a new Australian Defence Force contract, and it has backing.

In the same week the first Hawkei went into production at the site, the firm is vying for the lucrative Land 400 Phase 2 contract with their prototype vehicle the LAV (CRV).

During a tour and briefing of the site, federal member for Bendigo Lisa Chesters was able to get up close to the new project.

“My understanding is that while there has been a lot of speculation and politicking around the contract, it will be the next federal government that will make the decision,’’ she said.

“Therefore, it will be the role of the next federal member for Bendigo to go to Canberra to fight for this contract and for Bendigo Thales. I am ready for that battle.

“By selecting the LAV (CRV) the next government has the opportunity to secure existing jobs and create new jobs in the Bendigo defence manufacturing industry.

“Manufacturing the Land 400 at Thales Bendigo just makes a lot of sense as we already manufacture the Bushmasters and Hawkeis for the Australian Defence Force.” 

During the visit and briefing Ms Chesters also viewed the first Hawkei in production for the $1.6 billion ADF contact that was secured late
last year. 

“The facility was buzzing with the Bushmaster and Hawkei sheds in production,” she said 

Thales Bendigo has developed and tested first the Bushmaster and now the Hawkei. Both of these defence armoured vehicles are being manufactured at the facility for the Australian Defence Force. 

“This is an exciting opportunity for Bendigo. If Thales is successful, Bendigo will become Australia’s armoured vehicle manufacturing hub as well one of the world leaders in armoured defence vehicles manufacturing,” Ms Chesters said.

“Bendigo needs these jobs. Maintaining a strong industrial base, including the skilled workers here in Bendigo, has important strategic implications for Australia.

“Landing the Land 400 contract for Bendigo Thales will require a team effort. However, Bendigo has a proud defence manufacturing history and the capacity to do more.” 

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