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Thales Hawkei New Generation Protected Vehicle

An Australian Army Hawkei Protected Mobility Vehicle – Light on display during Exercise CHONG JU at Puckapunyal training area, May 2018 [ADoD: Cpl Nunu Campos]

In early January Thales announced it was again bringing its Australian-designed Hawkei New Generation Protected Vehicle to the UK, writes Bob Morrison.

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Designed in 2013 to meet an Australian Defence Force requirement for a light protected mobility vehicle (PMV-L) to replace some of its ageing Land Rover Perentie fleet variants, Hawkei was ordered by the ADoD in late 2015 with production commencing in Bendigo the following year.

Pre-production Thales Hawkei at Millbrook Proving Ground in June 2014 [© Bob Morrison]

According to the manufacturer, Hawkei is “a light, versatile and C4I integrated vehicle, offering first-of-its-kind protection, mobility and payload alongside advanced mission system integration, making it adaptable and scalable to operational requirements. Described as a ‘force multiplier’ for the Australian Defence Force, the 1000th Hawkei was recently lifted off the production line in Thales’ vehicle manufacturing facility in Bendigo, Victoria.”

Back in mid-December, Thales UK gave us a heads-up that Hawkei would be exhibited in the UK this week and invited us to catch up on the vehicle during its UK outing (at an event which we had attended in previous years and to which I had previously registered for 2024 press accreditation). Unfortunately, a few days ago the event organisers told us they would not be admitting JOINT-FORCES this year. We are sure our many of readers will be disappointed not to have been brought up to speed on the current configuration Hawkei, so as a consolation we have delved into our archives to find images of a pre-production vehicle which toured the UK and French defence expo circuit in 2014 and we have supplemented these photos with a few more recent ADoD images taken in more tactical situations.

Quoting Thales:-

  • Hawkei is a 10-tonne, 4×4, new generation protected vehicle with a 3-tonne payload, designed to meet the demanding requirements of land forces world-wide.
  • Hawkei delivers class-leading protection, mobility and payload with unparalleled levels of blast and ballistic protection for a helicopter transportable vehicle
  • Highly effective across a diverse range of mission profiles
  • Designed for current and future integrated C4I systems.
Pre-production Thales Hawkei at Eurosatory in June 2014 [© Bob Morrison]

Currently produced in both 4-door and 2-door versions, able to transport five or three troops respectively in an air-conditioned protected crew cell, Hawkei has an already high level of built-in blast and ballistic protection but can be further enhanced with an appliqué armour package that can be adapted to meet the threat environment. Powered by a 200kW (268hp) twin-turbo Euro-compliant diesel engine with 8-speed automatic transmission, Hawkei has a maximum road speed of 115km/h or 72mph and a range in excess of 600km or 375 miles. It is capable of being underslung by CH-47F Chinook helicopters, but is too large to fit inside, though it can easily be transported inside C-130 Hercules or A-400M Atlas transport aircraft.

Basic dimensions for the 4-door Hawkei are 5780mm long by 2400mm wide by 2300mm high to top of roof and GVW is 10,400kg. Either a pulpit ring or remote weapon station can be fitted, and weapons can include machine gun up to 12.7mm, 30mm cannon, 40mm automatic grenade launcher, or a guided rocket or missile system. In 2-door logistics / utility vehicle version Hawkei can carry a cargo payload up to 3000kg.

A Hawkei Protected Mobility Vehicle – Light utility variant is unloaded from a Royal Australian Air Force C-130J Hercules at Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, Afghanistan, April 2018 [ADoD: Sgt Mark Doran]

With the UK now looking to replace and consolidate its current ageing mixed wheeled vehicle fleet, as part of the Protected Mobility Pipeline / PMP programme, which incorporates the former UK GSUP programme, with the HUSKY TSV de-fielded with many gifted to Ukraine, and with plans to procure the Oshkosh JLTV as part of the UK Multi-Role Vehicle – Protected / MRV-P programme (which replaced the cancelled Operational Utility Vehicle System / OUVS programme) stalled, it is not beyond the bounds of possibility that Hawkei might yet be procured for UK Land Forces.

An Army Hawkei Protected Mobility Vehicle reverses onto a Light Landing Craft from HMAS Adelaide at Cowley Beach in Queensland during Exercise SEA WADER 2020 [ADoD: ABIS Sittichai Sakonpoonpol]
Australian Army Land 121 vehicle undergoing testing and evaluation during Land Trial 02-18 at the Townsville Field Training Area in North Queensland [ADoD: Cpl Nunu Campos]
An Australian Army Thales Hawkei Protected Mobility Vehicle – Light takes part in the Protected Mobility Integration and Capability Assurance programme testing at a purpose-built facility near Woomera in South Australia [ADoD photo]

[images © Bob Morrison or © Commonwealth of Australia Department of Defence]

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