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@AVNHQ Business Bulletin, 10 June 2021

By Leo D’Angelo Fisher

Top stories:

  • Skills transfer a priority as Rheinmetall delivers first combat vehicles

  • Melbourne company on track to benefit from German-UK partnership

  • Diverse defence businesses receive export capability boost

Skills transfer a priority as Rheinmetall delivers first combat vehicles

German defence and security technology company Rheinmetall has delivered the first 25 Boxer 8x8 Combat Reconnaissance Vehicles (CRV) to the Australian Army under the $5.2 billion LAND 400 Phase 2 Mounted Combat Reconnaissance Capability project.

Rheinmetall will deliver a total of 211 Boxer 8x8 wheeled armoured vehicles in different versions; 131 will be CRVs. They will replace the Army’s Australian Light Armoured Vehicles under LAND 400 Phase 2.

Brisbane-based Rheinmetall Defence Australia managing director Gary Stewart says there are currently 30 Australians working at Rheinmetall sites in Germany as part of a technology transfer program to ensure that Australian workers and suppliers become familiar with manufacturing techniques for the highly complex military vehicles.

“Australian engineers, project managers, welders, technicians, trainers and more are living and working with their colleagues in Germany to build a deep understanding of Rheinmetall products and, crucially, acquire the skills and certifications to transfer this expertise and intellectual property to Australia,” Mr Stewart says.

“This [knowledge transfer] is complemented with our engagement with the Australian TAFE sector and universities to ensure we build enduring pathways from our education institutions into the military vehicle manufacturing industry.”


Melbourne company on track to benefit from German-UK partnership

Rheinmetall Defence Australia, the local arm of German defence and security technology company Rheinmetall, has selected UK-based manufacturer of track systems and armour for military vehicles Cook Defence Systems to provide its TR40 tracks for Rheinmetall's Lynx KF41 tracked infantry fighting vehicle (IFV).

The Lynx is undergoing Risk Mitigation Activity trials after being shortlisted for the Australian Army's LAND 400 Phase 3 project.

The proposed TR40 track will have a strong contribution from Australian industry thanks to Cook’s long-standing partnership with Melbourne-based Mackay Consolidated Industries.

Mackay is a major supplier to Cook for several programs outside Australia, according to Cook Defence Systems director William Cook.

“Mackay’s track pads are made from an advanced rubber formulation and are proven to provide world-leading durability in the most demanding environments,” Mr Cook says.

Mackay Consolidated, a wholly Australian owned private company, started in 1932 as a supplier of automotive parts. Mackay has grown to become a manufacturer and distributor of a diverse range of engineered rubber and rubber composite products for the automotive, defence, industrial and rail markets globally.


Diverse defence businesses receive export capability boost

The federal government has awarded $837,000 in grants to six Australian small businesses under its Defence Global Competitiveness Grants program.

Metal engineering business UNEEK Bending, based in Dandenong South in Victoria, will receive $216,389 to upgrade its manufacturing capability, enabling it to join international supply chains for the global F-35 advanced military aircraft program and bring more production onshore.

Brisbane-based thermal processing company HTA Group will receive $131,447 for the construction of a cleaning and assembly facility for the manufacture of components for the F-35 Program.

Materials cutting company, SMETEC Services, located in Huskisson on the NSW south coast, will use its $208,332 grant to establish an advanced manufacturing facility to process specialised armoured steels and composite products, opening up opportunities in national and international defence supply chains.

Gold Coast, Queensland-based manufacturer of electro-optic systems, Laserdyne Technologies, will receive $180,125 to expand manufacturing operations, enabling it to reduce lead times to meet increasing global demand.

Adelaide defence software company Acacia Systems and Brisbane electronics company IntelliDesign have received grants of $40,944 and $59,908 respectively to upgrade international certification and accreditation, enabling them to pursue export opportunities with overseas defence forces.


Leo D'Angelo Fisher is a regular columnist and Editor-at-Large at Australian Veteran News. Connect with him on Twitter: @DAngeloFisher.

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