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Thales Hawkei Protected Mobility Vehicle Undergoing Testing in Japan

Our Bureau - : Mar 17, 2023 - : 4:11 am

The Hawkei next-generation seven tonne 4X4 protected mobility vehicle built by Thales Australia, has been undergoing trials with the Japan Self Defence Forces. According to a source familiar with the matter, the Hawkei on display at the ongoing show, was the same vehicle that performed the trials. The vehicle on display appeared to be in remarkably good condition after a year’s worth of trials.

According to company officials, the Hawkei is at the top end of the spectrum for light protected mobility vehicles and offers capability far exceeding that of many other competitors. The Hawkei can operate in roles such as troop carrier, command & control, liaison, surveillance, reconnaissance, electronic warfare (EW), etc.

The Hawkei is being considered for procurement by the Japan Ground Self-Defence Force (JGSDF) as a replacement for its Light Armoured Vehicle (LAV). Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) is the Japanese partner for Thales Australia and if selected, will manufacture the Hawkei under license in Japan.

Komatsu, one of the manufacturers of light armoured vehicles for the JGSDF, ended production of these vehicles in 2019.

The Hawkei is in service with the Australian armed forces, with Thales Australia, having delivered all 1100 vehicles on contract. It joins the Australian Defence Force’s (ADF) existing Bushmaster and Protected Medium Heavy Capability trucks to create a suite of protected mobility vehicles. The Australian Department of Defence granting approval of Initial Operational Capability to the Hawkei in July 2021 and is expected to reach Full Operational Capability later this year. The Hawkei took 7 years to develop from a clean sheet of paper. and delivers a balance of class-leading protection and mobility with the payload and power to offer Defence a truly multi-role platform with advanced C4I capabilities leveraging a unique open-architecture ASGVA-compliant Integral Computing System. The Hawkei vehicle was possibly the first vehicle in the world, built to be digitally wired, which means it was designed to integrate various new digital systems in a far more seamless manner than possible before. In older vehicles, a lot of time is spent trying to integrate and reconfigure new systems and equipment.

The Hawkei is available in 2-door (3 occupants) and 4-door (6 occupants) variants and can carry a three-tonne payload. According to company officials, offers unparalleled levels of ballistic and blast protection and is transportable via the underslung load on a CH-47 helicopter. The vehicle is powered by a Steyr 200Kw turbo-diesel engine with an 8 speed automatic transmission and can achieve a maximum range of 600 km.

The Hawkei has a large protected air conditioned cabin and was designed from the outset with built-in features that deliver an integrated high-performing vehicle electronic architecture that is GVA compliant. The Hawkei platform can be integrated with a wide portfolio of mission systems, delivered as “capability packages”, to allow Hawkei to fulfill current and future defence requirements. It can be fitted with a range of weapons – such as RWS 12.7 mm HMG, 40 mm auto grenade launcher, 5.56 mm and 7.62 mm swing mounts. The armour systems on the vehicle allow troops to add or take off the armour, depending on the environment. Hawkei is built by Thales in Bendigo, Victoria, with production supported by many Australian suppliers.


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