Queensland businesses are set to benefit following the announcement that Rheinmetall Defence Australia has been chosen to deliver the $5.2 billion LAND 400 Phase 2 contract for the Australian Defence Force (ADF).
Under the contract, German-headquartered Rheinmetall will manufacture 211 Boxer combat reconaissance vehicles (CRVs) for the ADF at a new facility to be established near Ipswich, using local Rheinmetall staff and selected local suppliers.
The Boxer CRV will replace the Australian Light Armoured Vehicle currently used by the ADF.
Rheinmetall Defence Australia Managing Director Gary Stewart said that Rheinmetall’s Queensland-based Military Vehicle Centre of Excellence (MILVEHCOE) would be of global significance to the company.
‘We are committed to transferring expertise and advanced military technology into Australia and creating an industrial hub of research and development,’ he said.
‘[It] will create a strong sovereign military vehicle capability that will be globally competitive for infantry fighting vehicle programs worldwide.’
The MILVEHCOE at Redbank Industrial Estate will be Rheinmetall’s biggest presence outside of Germany.
Mr Stewart said South East Queensland was a natural choice for the centre, given its proximity to Australia’s largest Army presence, its skilled and ready workforce, and the ecosystem of high-tech defence companies already here.
Queensland Minister for State Development, Manufacturing, Infrastructure and Planning Cameron Dick said attracting Rheinmetall to Queensland would have major benefits for the Queensland economy, including the creation of export opportunities.
‘The LAND 400 Phase 2 contract to deliver the next generation of combat reconnaissance vehicles to the Australian Army is a catalytic project, and attracting a global defence giant like Rheinmetall to Queensland will create opportunities for local industry for decades to come,’ he said.
‘This landmark project is an economic game-changer that will create 450 advanced manufacturing and engineering jobs for Queenslanders and pump $1 billion into the state’s economy in the first 10 years.’
Rheinmetall recently signed its first global supply chain agreement with the ADF, which gives Australian companies greater access to its international supply chain.
The decision to select Rheinmetall followed a three-year tender and testing process that assessed the Boxer CRV as the most capable vehicle for the Australian Defence Force.
The defence and aerospace sector is identified as one of Queensland’s growing export priorities in the Queensland Trade and Investment Strategy 2017–2022.
Update 14 May: Watpac has been announced as managing contractor for construction of the new centre at Redbank.