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On 10 April 2024 Australia signed a production contract for 123 Boxer 8×8 Heavy Weapon Carrier vehicles. With more than 100 of those vehicles to be exported from Australia for use by the German Army, the contract constitutes Australia’s largest foreign military export to Germany.

“Deliveries are scheduled to start in 2025,” Nathan Poyner, managing director of Rheinmetall Defence Australia, was quoted as saying in a Rheinmetall press release, “with the first Australian-built vehicle to be delivered in 2026.”

The Heavy Weapon Carrier, or ‘Schwerer Waffenträger Infanterie’ vehicle, is based on the Australian Army’s Boxer Combat Reconnaissance Vehicle (CRV). It is intended to replace the Wiesel tracked light weapon carrier vehicles used by the German Army’s light infantry units. Australia ordered 211 Boxer vehicles under its Land 400 Phase 2 project in March 2018, with 133 of these vehicles being the CRV variant with a crewed digital Lance modular turret system.

The German Boxers are to be produced at Rheinmetall’s Military Vehicle Centre of Excellence at Redbank in South East Queensland, Australia.

The Boxer vehicle more generally is produced by the Munich-based ARTEC industrial group, of which the parent companies are Krauss-Maffei Wegmann and Rheinmetall Military Vehicles in Germany and Rheinmetall Defence Nederland in the Netherlands, giving Rheinmetall a 64% stake in the joint venture. The programme co-ordinated by Europe’s Organisation for Joint Armament Cooperation (OCCAR).

Armin Papperger, chairman of the executive board of Rheinmetall, was quoted in a company press release as stating, “We appreciate to have been selected to supply the Heavy Weapon Carrier vehicles for an essential element of the German Army’s new force category: the ‘medium forces’.

“We are integrating the expertise and capabilities of our Australian MILVEHCOE colleagues from our global Rheinmetall network to provide the German Army with the required combat vehicles as quickly as possible. This further deepens defence ties between Australia and Germany and enhances a sustained sovereign defence capability in Australia.

“We welcome the close partnership between Australia and Germany in strategic defence activities as the two nations work together to increase global security,” Papperger added. “The German Boxer programme from Australia has been made possible by Rheinmetall’s long-term Australian investment in product development and advanced manufacturing.”

Unlike its competitors, the Boxer multi-role armoured vehicle consists of a drive platform module and interchangeable mission modules that allow various different configurations to meet customers’ operational requirements.

As well as the armies of Germany, Australia and the Netherlands, the Boxer has additionally been ordered by the United Kingdom and Lithuania. Thirty-six RCH-155 self-propelled gun variants of the Boxer have also been procured for Ukraine using German military aid.

The Boxer Heavy Weapon Carrier, or ‘Schwerer Waffenträger Infanterie’ vehicle, that will equip the Bundeswehr is based on the Australian Army’s Boxer Combat Reconnaissance Vehicle (CRV). (Photo: Rheinmetall)