The Australian Defence Force has taken delivery of the first tranche of 25 BOXER CRV 8×8 wheeled armoured reconnaissance vehicles, contractor Rheinmetall has announced. In 2018, the Australian government signed a supply contract with Rheinmetall Australia for 211 BOXERs in seven versions for €2.7Bn under the Land 400 Phase 2 armament project. It is agreed that the BOXERs will be delivered in two tranches: Tranche I (Block I) with 25 vehicles until the end of 2020 and Tranche II (Block II) in the period 2022 to 2027.
Tranche I has now been delivered, comprising 13 multi-purpose and 12 reconnaissance vehicles, the latter with turret and 30 mm gun. This will enable the Australian Army to reach the first stage of operational capability as planned. The vehicles were handed over at the purpose-built Military Vehicle Centre of Excellence (MILVEHCOE) in the presence of Australian Defence Minister Peter Dutton. Phase 2 of the project is now beginning for Rheinmetall. Currently, 30 Australian employees from Rheinmetall Australia are working at Rheinmetall sites in Germany and learning about production. The 2018 contract also provides for know-how and technology transfer, so with the start of Tranche II, production will be gradually transferred to Australia. The plan is that from vehicle No. 31 (in May 2023) onwards, production will take place entirely in Australia.
Australian BOXER Details
In Tranche II, 121 reconnaissance and 15 command and control vehicles are planned, alongside29 vehicles for Joint Fire Surveillance, 11 recovery vehicles with a winch system and 10 repair vehicles with a crane.
The MILVEHCOE is the central point of the Australian Industry Capability (AIC) programme with regard to the BOXER. Here, Rheinmetall will manage the Australian development, production, testing, training and support of the BOXER vehicles and associated training systems. Development, production and integration work within MILVEHCOE is well underway, while the equipment and facilities at the main production facility have been installed and are being commissioned. Knowledge transfer for full BOXER production in Australia is expected to commence once commissioning of the BOXER production line at the MILVEHCOE is complete.