Thales Australia’s ground-breaking Hawkei Australian Light Protected Vehicle has passed a significant milestone with the successful completion of the first series of mine blast tests on the passenger compartment.

Conducted on a full monocoque hull prototype, the test involved a high level blast beneath the centre of the vehicle, representing the type of detonation that occurs when a vehicle passes directly over a land mine.

The Hawkei’s hull has also recently been successfully tested against IED fragments, another key operational threat.

These tests are part of a series designed to ensure that the Australian designed and built Hawkei provides the highest possible protection for Australian soldiers.

“These latest successes demonstrate the rapid progress being made in Australian industry’s drive to deliver a truly Manufactured and Supported in Australia solution for the Department of Defence’s LAND 121 Phase 4 program. said Ian Irving, Thales Australia’s Vice President for Land & Joint Systems.

“We believe that Team Thales is the only team able to deliver an Australian solution specifically tailored for the unique requirements of the Defence Materiel Organisation and the Australian Defence Force.

“This capability is backed by years of experience with the Bushmaster program, which has given us a real understanding of the ADF’s needs, both now and into the future.”

The data gathered during the blast testing from full anthropomorphic dummies will be used to further refine the blast management system used in the vehicle.

Achieving the highest levels of protection in the light vehicle class is one of the primary goals for the Hawkei design team, which includes Plasan Sasa, one of the world’s foremost armour solutions companies.

“Plasan’s vast international experience, including on major US programs, brings unrivalled expertise to Team Thales and to the Australian solution for LAND 121/4,” Mr Irving concluded.

Thales is a global technology leader for the Aerospace and Space, Defence, Security and Transportation markets. In 2008, the company generated revenues of 12.7 billion euros (equivalent of AUD 22.1 billion) with 68,000 employees in 50 countries.

Thales Australia is a trusted partner of the Australian Defence Force and is also present in commercial sectors ranging from air traffic management to security systems and services. Employing around 3,500 people in over 35 sites across the country, Thales Australia recorded revenues of more than AUD1 billion in 2008.