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15 Apr 14. Australian DoD extends Hawkei testing and evaluation programme. The Australian Department of Defence (DoD) has extended the developmental testing and evaluation of the six Thales Hawkei prototype vehicles and trailer that were acquired under the Australian Defence Forces’ (ADF) project LAND 121 phase 4 programme. An unnamed DoD spokesperson was quoted by Shephard as saying that the risk-reduction activity will ‘further reduce risk prior to a second-pass consideration by government, which is expected in 2015’. The extension means that the option to acquire a non-Australian vehicle ‘remains on hold’ pending the outcome of the manufactured and supported in Australia (MSA) development contract, the spokesperson added. Six Hawkei vehicles, including two utility variants, two command variants, two reconnaissance variants and one trailer, have been undergoing testing under the MSA contract at the Monegeetata Proving Ground in Victoria and other facilities since May 2013. Testing has been completed on the integration of communications systems, mobility, survivability, payload, reliability, air and sea transportability, and user assessments by Australian soldiers, according to the spokesperson. “Hawkei was selected by the DoD as a preferred choice for the light-protected vehicle in December 2011.” The $1.5bn project LAND 121 phase 4, known as Overlander, aims to purchase up to 1,300 protected and unprotected light vehicles to help replace one-third of the Australian Army’s existing Land Rover vehicle fleet.
Hawkei was selected by the DoD as a preferred choice for the light-protected vehicle in December 2011. Manufactured at Thales’s Bendigo facility in Victoria, the Hawkei is a 7t, 4×4 next-generation light-mobility vehicle designed to safeguard soldiers against improvised explosive devices (IED) and ballistic missiles. Thales Australia is the prime contractor for the Hawkei project, which also includes Boeing Defence Australia, Plasan Sasa and PAC Group as partners.(Source: army-technology.com)
15 Apr 14. Malaysia Advances With 8-Wheeled Armored Vehicle. Malaysia’s top armored vehicle manufacturer, Deftech, has begun the qualification stage for its eight-wheel-drive AV-8 armored wheeled vehicle and will produce 257 units with 12 variants for the country’s Army when tests are concluded, said Deftech CEO Amril Samsudin this week at the Defence Services Asia exhibition here. The AV-8 program is part of a manufacturing partnership agreement with Turkey’s FNSS Defense Systems and is based on the FNSS-designed PARS (Leopard) multimission wheeled vehicle, an FNSS source said. Amril said there are export opportunities for the AV-8 and ‘several countries’ have approached Deftech, but the company will not market the vehicle until the Army can ‘verify its capabilities.’ Amril said Malaysia is in discussions with FNSS to supply the six-wheel-drive PARS for the Malaysian United Nations contingent in Lebanon. He said Deftech might pass on a manufacturing option for the vehicle if the Army orders less than 100 because the cost of tooling would be prohibitive. Amril said the company is finalizing a contract with the Cambodian government for a maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) program for 500 T-54/T-55 tanks. (Source: Defense News)
16 Apr 14. Taiwan Tank Parts at DSA. Taiwan-based Whole Power Company has found a new market outside the Taiwan military for its armored vehicle track and suspension systems. The company is exhibiting for the first time at the Defence Services Asia exhibition in Kuala Lumpur this week.
“We are the sole source supplier to Taiwan’s military tracked vehicles,” said Oliver Wu, product manager. The company supplies the track and suspension systems for Taiwan’s M-109 self-propelled artillery, LVTP-5 armored amphibious fighting vehicl