THEY are a hybrid Star Wars- 007- type weapon, a killing machine for one of the best armies in the world.
Lethal and jaw- droppingly expensive, just 225 of the combat reconnaissance vehicles for the Defence Force will cost up to $ 5 billion. The battle for the bid is between two tanks on wheels – Rheinmetall Defence Australia’s Boxer and the BAE Systems Australia Patria.
Each have pros and cons but they can both fire 200 rounds of ammunition a minute, carry cannons, ram through tough terrain and, with the pedal to the metal, they can reach 100km/ h.
It is understood the Boxer may be more expensive but it is believed to have the highest level of protection and contain some hi- tech bells and whistles used by the Israeli Army.
Rheinmetall’s model can defend itself by using a pulse to blow up an incoming missile and it is modular, meaning within 60 minutes it can transform into an ambulance. It also means if one of its modules is damaged, it can be replaced and return to the battlefield.
Both companies have shortlisted Queensland and Victoria as their potential base.
Rheinmetall managing director Andrew Fletcher said Queensland was well placed.
“Rheinmetall Defence Australia announced in February that it had short- listed Queensland and Victoria as potential locations for its Military Vehicle Centre of Excellence after receiving a first and final round of proposals from state governments to secure the project,’’ he said.
A BAE Systems spokeswoman said it would draw on local supply chains to help build the vehicle.
“We are continuing to review options for the location of the program should we be selected and several states are being considered,” she said.