Ipswich based multi-national, Rheinmetall Defence Australia, has this week signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Queensland Government to bid for the Australian Army’s LAND 400 Phase 3 contract.
A Federal Government decision, which is expected later this year, on the $27 billion contract will deliver 450 infantry fighting vehicles for the Australian Army and create 500 new jobs.
Ipswich Mayor Teresa Harding welcomed the MOU and said that the workforce and skills base in Ipswich is supporting a thriving high-tech defence industry ecosystem.
“Each year the Ipswich Manufacturing sector exports $2.3 billion of value, and our city is home to almost 20% of the State’s defence employment,” Mayor Harding said.
“Ipswich is home to a raft of national and global advanced manufacturing leaders including Rheinmetall, TAE Aerospace, Boeing, Viatris and Maxitrans due to our strategic location, vast supply of green-and brown-field industrial land and skilled workforce.
“Rheinmetall has our full support in their bid for the Phase 3 contract,” said Mayor Harding, who also Chairs the local defence cluster (CIDIDAC).
Rheinmetall is competing against Hanwha Defence Australia in the bid, who would establish their manufacturing facility in Geelong if successful.
“Rheinmetall has built a world-class Military Vehicle Centre of Excellence (MILVEHCOE) on 11 hectares at Redbank and demonstrated their readiness to deliver this nationally significant contract; with a highly skilled workforce and supply chains in place,” Mayor Harding said.
The Redbank-based manufacturer is currently delivering 211 Boxer vehicles to the Australian Army under Land 400 Phase 2, more than 2500 protected high mobility trucks to the Australian Army under the Land 121 Phase 3B program and supplying a further 1000 trucks to the Commonwealth through the Land 121 Phase 3B/5B program.
Rheinmetall Defence Australia managing director Gary Stewart said his company had created a foundation for a skilled workforce and skilled industrial base that allows them to build the best capability for the Australian Defence Force while contributing to the economic growth and recovery in Queensland.
The MILVEHCOE precinct includes:
Engineering and manufacturing for vehicles, turrets, weapons, armour, electronics and electro-optics and simulators;
A vehicle test track and electromagnetic test chamber – used to confirm that vehicles meet the agreed performance specifications prior to delivery to the Australian Army;
An indoor firing range – a fully-enclosed, state of the art firing range;
A systems integration laboratory – used to integrate and optimise performance of Australian Army systems and equipment into the vehicles; and
Facilities for engineering, training, procurement, project management, finance, legal, marketing and management.
“We have a strong skilling and trades approach,” Mr Stewart said.
“We have hosted 16 local high school students from six different high schools to show them that the vocational training program we have can bring them into vocational trade training sooner and connecting them with the apprenticeship program and partnerships with TAFE and universities.
“We can provide a very clear path for a rich and rewarding career whether it is professional or vocational.”
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said MILVEHCOE will continue to be a major boost to Queensland’s economic growth and is expected to contribute up $1 billion to the state’s economy over the life of the project.
“We’re at the forefront of the nation’s capabilities across a number of high-tech military platforms, and this facility in particular is now on its way to leading Australia’s advance on global military vehicle markets,” the Premier said.
“The state-of-the-art MILVEHCOE will be the beating heart of Australia’s ongoing military vehicle development and will establish a truly sovereign capability.”