Nationals Senator for Victoria, Bridget McKenzie, has congratulated local manufacturer Thales on being selected as Defence’s preferred supplier for up to 1300 of their Hawkei vehicles, in a contract worth potentially $1.5 billion.
As part of the Land 121 Phase 4 project, the Hawkei was extensively tested and has now been chosen by Defence as the best vehicle to progress to final development and trials.
Although also in contention for another project, Land 121 Phase 3, Thales (with their Bushmaster Ute) were not selected.
The contract was today awarded to a German firm. Senator McKenzie said today “Even though Thales didn’t win the contract for Land 121 Phase 3, the retention of Defence manufacturing jobs and skills in Bendigo is good news for Central Victoria.
“The flow on effects will be significant for local firms supplying components to Thales.”
Defence will also require Thales to maintain a core capability of manufacturing skills and experience in Bendigo in preparation for the likely contract rollout.
“Having visited Thales’s Bendigo plant and seen the Bushmaster and Hawkei firsthand, I have confidence in the ability of Thales to build vehicles that ensure the safety of our troops deployed overseas,” Senator McKenzie said.
“I wish Thales every success in working with the Defence Department to grow their business and continuing to support Bendigo’s strong manufacturing industry, ensuring local jobs.
“After such a long wait, this news couldn’t come at a better time for Thales’s skilled staff, providing security for many local families in the lead up to Christmas.”