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Australia gets vehicle prototypes

Feb. 28, 2011 at 11:35 AM

POTTS POINT, Australia, Feb. 28 (UPI) -- Two prototype, lightweight protected vehicles have been delivered by Thales Australia to Australia's Defense Ministry for testing.

The Hawkei vehicles were developed as possible replacements for of the army's fleet of Land Rovers.

"The Hawkei is an impressive vehicle that has been developed to meet the specific operational requirements of the Australian (military)," said Thales Australia Chief Executive Officer Chris Jenkins.

"We have leveraged the experience gained on the highly successful Bushmaster program and teamed with world-class partners -- including Plasan, Boeing Defense Australia and the PAC Group -- to deliver a unique, innovative, and high performance vehicle to the commonwealth.

"The speed the Hawkei team has demonstrated to develop these prototypes shows that we have the capability to manufacture and deliver this cost-effective and versatile vehicle in response to urgent requirements, as Australia's only genuinely local manufacturer of protected mobility vehicles," he said.

The Hawkei can carry up to six passengers. It weighs about 15,400 pounds and can travel at about 60 mph.

It features a large protected interior space, Bushmaster levels of blast and ballistic protection, advanced technology for rapid up-armoring in the field and a straightforward reconfiguration between variants.

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