Labor welcomes the announcement today that Thales Australia’s Hawkei Light Protected Vehicle will be acquired by Defence under Project LAND 121 Phase 4.
In 2013, Thales Australia’s Hawkei was selected as the preferred choice of vehicle for LAND 121 Phase 4 by the then Labor Government.
This followed a rigorous selection process that included prototype vehicles, user assessments, and capability and reliability testing against Defence’s unique and demanding requirements.
After two year of indecision, the Abbott/Turnbull Government has finally reached the same conclusion that Labor did in 2013 - that the Hawkei is the best vehicle for the job.
The Thales factory in Bendigo is an Australian success story and an exemplar of the ingenuity, dedication and talent of our local defence industry and its highly skilled workforce.
Thales' factory in Bendigo also produces the Bushmaster Protected Mobility Vehicle, which has been in use by the Australian Defence Force since 2004 and has been exported to several countries.
The Bushmaster's many innovations, including its V-shaped hull, are credited with saving the lives of Australian personnel involved in improvised explosive device attacks in Afghanistan.
Thales Australia’s Bushmaster and Hawkei demonstrate that Australian defence industry can produce not only world-class equipment for the Australian Defence Force, but also a vibrant export industry.
If Malcolm Turnbull and Marise Payne are serious about supporting Australian success stories like Thales Australia, they must end the chaos, indecision and interference that Tony Abbott wreaked on Australia's defence industry.
Only Labor can be trusted to ensure that Australia's defence industry has the certainty it needs to plan for and build the vital equipment that supports Australian Defence Force personnel.