Rheinmetall has confirmed it will build a military vehicle centre of excellence (MILVEHCOE) in Ipswich if it wins a massive Federal Government contract.
IPSWICH is on the brink of a jobs bonanza if Rheinmetall Defence Australia is awarded a $5 billion contract to build the nation’s newest armoured vehicles.
The military vehicle centre of excellence (MILVEHCOE) would be used to build 225 combat reconnaissance vehicles for the Australian Army as well as infantry fighting vehicles and turrets for the Australian and global markets.
Ipswich Mayor Andrew Antoniolli said it was potentially great news for Ipswich as it would mean more than 350 long-term jobs, significant opportunities for local SMEs and associated work with an ongoing delivery and maintenance.
“We are very excited to hear that Rheinmetall Defence Australia has chosen Ipswich for its military vehicle hub, provided it wins the defence contract,” Cr Antoniolli said.
“We have a proud military heritage in Ipswich, with 7500 defence force workers in the city. We are delighted that Rheinmetall sees us as the right fit for this very important project.
“The prospect of more local jobs for Ipswich is welcome news all around.”
In July, State Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk described it as a “massive win for Queensland” when Rheinmetall selected South East Queensland as its preferred location for the MILVEHCOE.
The company went a step further today announcing that Ipswich would be the base where it would design, manufacture and maintain its Boxer CRV vehicles.
Rheinmetall Defence Australia Managing Director Gary Stewart said the company was one of two vying for the Department of Defence contract, which was expected to be announced early next year.
“We are very hopeful of winning the contract,” he said.
“We have looked at a number of sites for the centre of excellence within the Ipswich area.”
Mr Stewart confirmed that as well as building the 225 Boxer CRVs, the Ipswich hub would also be used to fulfil global defence contracts.
This would include the MILVEHCOE becoming the global hub for the new LYNX tracked armoured vehicle and the Rheinmetall LANCE turret.
Mr Stewart said this would mean significant export opportunities for companies involved in supporting the development and production of either product.
“The MILVEHCOE will be an enormous boost for Ipswich. We are looking at up to 450 jobs and the flow-on effect over a 30 to 40-year period of delivery and maintenance,” he said.
“There will be numerous global export opportunities through products such as LYNX and the LANCE turret, but also access to many other Rheinmetall progams through the company’s global supply chain.”
Above, three forms of Lynx which would be built in Ipswich, the Lynx (top left), Lynx IVF (top right), Lynx Build (bottom left), and bottom left Ipswich Mayor Andrew Antoniolli and Rheinmetall’s Australian chief Gary Stewart in a Boxer CRV.
Is this your new career?
Ipswich workers could be building both a combat reconnaissance vehicle and an infantry fighting vehicle over the next 30 years.
Rheinmetall Defence Australia Managing Director Gary Stewart said there would be seven variations of the Boxer and Lynx vehicles.
The Boxer CRV is part of the Land 400 Phase 2 program of the Defence Department contract, which would see 225 of the combat reconnaissance vehicles built at the military centre of excellence in Ipswich.
The Boxer is fitted with the Lance two-man 30mm turret, which would also be manufactured in Ipswich.
It can survive against the full spectrum of battlefield threats including small arms, heavy machine guns, mines, NBC contaminants and Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) using its unique modular, upgradeable survivability system.
The Boxer is more of a support vehicle, as opposed to the Lynx tank, an out-and-out fighting machine.
Rheinmetall said global markets had already expressed an interest in the Lynx infantry fighting vehicle and any foreign-bound vehicles would also be built in Ipswich.
The Lynx IFV would also be Rheinmetall’s contender for the Defence Department’s next contract, Land 400 Phase 3 – mounted close combat capability.
It also featured the Lance turrent and was armed with a stabilised, externally powered, airburst-capable automatic cannon (either 30mm or 35mm) enabling engagement of targets with high precision at ranges of up to 3,000 metres on the move.
The vehicle’s ballistic armour could shield the Lynx and its soldiers from anti-tank weapons, medium-calibre ammunition, artillery shrapnel, IEDs and bomblets. In addition, a spall liner in the vehicle interior protected the entire crew.
Mine and IED protection packages, decoupled seats and the optional hard kill Active Defence System (ADS) significantly boosted the vehicle’s survivability.
This tracked vehicle would come in two versions: the KF31 (3+6 soldiers) and KF41 (3+8 soldiers). They weighed between 38 and 40 tonnes.
Currently the largest supplier of military vehicles to the Australian Defence Force, Rheinmetall had just delivered more than 2500 logistics trucks to the Australian Army under the Land 121 Phase 3B program – including some this week to Amberley and Wacol.