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17 Dec 12. Australian Army receives first Hawkei prototype from Thales. Thales Australia has handed over the first Hawkei protected mobility vehicle (PMV) and trailer prototypes to the Australian Army. Delivery follows selection as the preferred vehicle for development and testing under the manufactured and supported in Australia (MSA) option of the Australian Defence Forces’ (ADF) Project LAND 121 Phase 4 programme in December 2011. Thales is under contract by the Australian Department of Defence (DoD) to develop and deliver six prototype Hawkei vehicles to the Australian Defence Forces (ADF) for user assessment trails. Australian Defence Materiel minister Jason Clare said that the vehicle brought together safety with speed for soldiers in battlefield, and were being produced at Thales’s Bendigo facility, which has been developing Bushmaster vehicles since 2003.
“This year, the government allocated $38m for further development and testing of the Hawkei,” he said. “Under this agreement, Thales will supply six prototype Hawkei vehicles and one trailer for testing and evaluation.”
The remaining five prototypes are scheduled for delivery by June 2013, after then the vehicles will undergo a comprehensive testing programme, including communication system integration testing, reliability growth trials, survivability testing and user assessments throughout the year. Valued at $1.5bn, the Project LAND 121 Phase 4 seeks acquisition of up to 1,300 protected and unprotected light vehicles to help replace the army’s Land Rover utility vehicle fleet, subject to successful testing and final government approval expected in 2015. Production work under the programme is scheduled to start in Australia in 2016. Powered by a Steyr V6 diesel engine, the Hawkei is 7t, 4×4 next-generation light mobility vehicle designed to safeguard soldiers against improvised explosive devices (IED) attacks and ballistic missiles in the battlefield. Thales Australia is prime contractor for the Hawkei project, which also include Boeing, Plasan Sasa and PAC Group as partners. (Source: army-technology.com)

16 Dec 12. Israel’s Defense Ministry is preparing to launch initial development of Rakiya, a family of light, lethal and self-protected armored vehicles optimized for urban battles beyond 2020. The ambitious program, a fifth-generation follow-on to Israel’s Merkava Mk4 tank, is known here by its Hebrew acronym Rakiya (Horizon), which translates into Future Manned Combat Vehicle (FMCV). Managed by the recently established Rakiya unit within MoD’s Defense Research and Development Directorate, the program involves nearly all branches of MoD and Israel’s Ground Force Command, starting with Merkava Program Directorate and Armored Corps and extending through Infantry, Artillery, Ordnance and Combat Engineering. Retired Israeli Army Brig. Gen. Didi Benyoash, a veteran of Israel’s Defense Research and Development Directorate and chief armor officer in the Israeli Army reserves, was appointed last summer to lead the effort. Operational requirements for Israel’s future armored force could be approved as early as January, sources here said, following months of MoD-led coordination with Brig. Gen. Yaron Livnat, Merkava program manager; Brig. Gen. Ofer Tsafrir, chief armored officer; Brig. Gen. Haim Rubin, chief of the Army’s Technology Division; and others. And while design features of the new FMCV will depend on operational requirements now wending up the approval chain, military officers said the new vehicles are likely to be wheeled, agile and nearly half the weight of the 65-ton Merkava Mk4. (Source: Defense News)

19 Dec 12. US Army conducts operational training on M160 MV4 mine clearance vehicle. US Army soldiers have conducted operational training of the M160 MV4 DOK-ING mine clearance and fir

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