Home' Asia Pacific Defence Reporter : APDR September 2016 Contents Asia Pacific Defence Reporter SEPT 2016 51
panoply of communications systems (including the
Battle Management System and radios) through
a common interface: the Thales SOTAS vehicle
communication and integrated computing system.
Current status from CASG indicates that after
contract signature, planning and work has continued
in the lead-up to the start of full rate production in
2018. During the Engineering and Manufacturing
Development Phase (2015 – 2017) there is
continuing a small run of vehicles to support testing
and further development. Low-Rate Initial Production
(2017 – 2018) will supply around 100 vehicles for
final testing and initial deliveries. This will represent
the initial material release, which should lead to initial
operating capability in 2019.
Full-Rate Production (2018 – 2022) will see the
remaining vehicles and trailers manufactured and
delivered to the Commonwealth.
Given the tough conditions that Hawkei will be
driven in, a lot of focus has been on making sure
that the vehicle and its systems can stand up to this
In January 2016 QinetiQ Australia commenced
the second phase of full scale fatigue testing on
Hawkei at Thales Australia’s manufacturing facility
in Bendigo. Thales has now advised Defence, who
informed APDR, that this testing will be finalised
later this year.
The test program involves attaching a Hawkei
production-level chassis to a 5x8 metre test rig for
a series of tests to validate the predicted life of the
“During the tests, we push the Hawkei to its
absolute limits,” QinetiQ's general manager (Land
and Maritime) George McGuire, said.
“We artificially recreate the various stresses the
Hawkei might be under in the field by placing a
combination of loads on the chassis, which are
activated by computer-operated hydraulics powered
by 100 litres of oil per minute. It is a very significant
undertaking that requires a depth of technical
expertise and practical implementation experience.”
Defence’s project spokesperson told APDR that
a wide range of tests will be conducted by Thales
and Defence over the next few years, building on the
extensive testing already conducted under the initial
Manufactured and Supported in Australia contract.
Testing will be conducted in two stages. The
developmental test and evaluation program for
the PMV-L Hawkei will begin in the third quarter
of 2016, with the first four vehicles and trailers
already undergoing testing by Defence at the Land
Engineering Agency Proving Ground at Monegeeta.
During this evaluation the vehicle’s performance
will be assessed against an extensive range of
criteria including: reliability, fording, mobility,
electromagnetic compatibility/interference, and
The developmental test and evaluation program
will be followed by acceptance verification and
validation, whereby the vehicles and trailers will
undergo detailed testing. Acceptance verification
and validation will start in the third quarter of 2017.
This will include an extensive production reliability
acceptance test to demonstrate the reliability of the
product baseline that involves four mission systems
(vehicle and trailer) each completing approximately
48,000 km of arduous testing in all manner of terrain.
LOW RATE INITIAL PRODUCTION
Defence told APDR that Thales is developing a next-
generation integral computing system, based on the
UK generic vehicle architecture, to be delivered with
the vehicles. Defence is providing some components
for this system as government furnished equipment
(e.g . radios and antennas).
The fitment of this equipment will be tested as part
of both the developmental test and evaluation, and
the acceptance verification and validation programs.
They said the design for low-rate initial production
is planned to be finalised by mid-2017. There will
then be a second build state for full rate production
(based on the outcomes of the acceptance
verification and validation progwram). If there are
any differences between the build states, Thales
will update/upgrade the low-rate initial production
vehicles to the full-rate production build state.
When further questioned Defence said it has
already conducted user trials with the Hawkei and
the feedback is reflected in the current build state.
There is a further field trial planned for the first
quarter of 2017 and the vehicles delivered for
low-rate initial production will also be used to solicit
feedback on the vehicle design and to develop
the concept of employment for Hawkei. Noting the
extensive testing to date, minimal changes to the
design are anticipated. Nonetheless, any changes
that are agreed will be assessed to determine when
they should be incorporated into the production build
state, including whether some vehicles should be
retrofitted after delivery.
RELEASE TO ARMY AND AIR FORCE
Low-rate initial production vehicles will be provided
to the Army from early 2018 to commence training.
Delivery of Hawkei to field units is scheduled to
commence in the second half of 2018.
The delivery of Hawkei to Army and Air Force units
will occur over the period 2018-22, beginning with
the Army combat brigades: 1st Brigade, 3rd Brigade
and 7th Brigade. The Hawkei will also be delivered
to Army’s: key supporting brigades, 1st Division and
Army training centres; as well as to selected RAAF
APDR asked the Head of Land Systems Division
Major General David Coghlan, AM , for his view of
Hawkei’s capabilities and the work being done so far.
“The Thales Hawkei has been engineered to
provide the best possible balance of the Army’s
six fundamental requirements: survivability, mobility,
payload capacity, communications, useability and
“ In particular, Hawkei will provide a high level of
protection for soldiers against blast and ballistic
threats, with significantly improved mobility which
will enable it to operate in high-risk areas. The
Hawkei’s level of protection is comparable to the
Bushmaster at around half the weight and is the
only Australian protected vehicle capable of being
transported by an ADF helicopter.
“ Thales Australia has proven its design and
engineering quality with the Bushmaster and we are
confident that the expertise and skills of its workforce
will continue to be used in the Hawkei vehicle.”
Stringent testing of Hawkei will continue during the
balance of this year and into early 2017. Meantime
2017 will also see the Low Rate of Initial Production
vehicles start, getting ready for first distribution to
Army during early 2018 to gain user reaction to the
vehicles and suggestions for improvements from the
Assuming that goes smoothly, there will be
progress with the project on several fronts. Logistic
support for Army will commence, further testing and
trials will be done by Land Systems, and full rate
production should be under way by the end of 2018.
While much of this focus is on what happens at
Thales Bendigo and various Defence facilities, it will
be appreciated that throughout Australia many SMEs
will have been hard at work on their parts of the
project. Designing, developing, testing and having
their sub-systems accepted by Thales as suitable
for incorporation in Hawkei will be an exciting and
rewarding challenge for them.
This will be a truly nationwide effort of momentous
proportions for both defence industry and Army.
And in addition by 2019-20 there should serious
export interest in, and maybe even orders for, this
25/08/2016 6:29 PM
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