SOFINS 2019: Thales continues to promote Hawkei 4x4 light protected vehicle for European market
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At SOFINS 2019, Special Forces Operations Equipment Exhibition, French Company Thales continues to promote its 4x4 light protected vehicle Hawkei for the European market including Belgium and Poland. The vehicle was designed and developed by Thales Australia for the Australian Department of Defence’s Land 121 phase 4 program that aims to replace the Australian Army’s Land Rovers.
Thales Hawkei 4x4 light protected vehicle in a live demonstration at SOFINS 2019, Special Forces Operations Equipment Exhibition near Bordeaux, France, April 3, 2019. (Picture source Army Recognition)
The project of the Hawkei was launched in September 2009 and the first prototype vehicle was unveiled in November 2010. Thales Australia is the prime contractor in the design and development of Australia’s Hawkei lightweight mobility vehicle. Boeing, Plasan Sasa and PAC Group are partners of Thales, supporting the Hawkei project.
In October 2015, Defence entered into a contract with Thales to acquire and support 1100 Hawkei vehicles and 1058 trailers. Total budget and related funding for the Protected Mobility Vehicle — Light capability, as estimated by the ANAO, is $2.2 billion.1 Defence has expended $463.1 million of project funds to 30 June 2018, as well as $293.9 million on related costs.
In February 2019, during the defense exhibition IDEX, Thales Australia confirmed the vehicle is now in production for the Australian army, 70 units having already been delivered. The full-rate production will start by the end of 2019, a few months late on initial schedule. 1,100 units (plus 1,000 associated trailers) are to be delivered to the Australian army by 2021.
During SOFINS 2019, Thales has confirmed that the Hawkei will be offered for some program of armed forces in Europe. In 2018, the Australian Newspaper website has announced that the global export market for the Australian-made Hawkei light armored vehicle could be worth up to $2 billion. The first export contracts for the Hawkei could be in place in the next few months, with European nations expressing an interest in the Australian-designed protected mobility vehicle.
The layout of Hawkei 4x4 light protected vehicle is conventional, with the engine at the front, crew and troops compartment in the center and large cargo area at the rear. It incorporates high levels of blast and ballistic protection in a light, highly maneuverable and readily air transportable vehicle that has been engineered for peak performance.
The Hawkei 4x4 light protected vehicle is motorized with a six-cylinder, 3.2 liter direct injection diesel engine rated at 225 kW and producing maximum torque of 680 Nm at 2,000 rpm. It can run at a maximum road speed of 115 km/h with a maximum cruising range of 600 km.