Home' Air Force News : October 10th 2013 Contents Feature
October 10, 2013
CREEKS, rocky outcrops
and beach landings were
just some of the things
thrown at prototype
Hawkei vehicles during field trials
in north Queensland.
Between September 11-18, three
protected 4x4 prototypes were put
through their paces by three airmen
and about 80 soldiers from the 3rd
Brigade to see if they are suitable
for use in the ADF.
Trial manager MAJ Neil
Williams, of the Australian Defence
Test and Evaluation Office, said the
results would help Defence decide
if it wanted to buy the Hawkei.
"The trial is carried out in order
to inform senior Defence decision
makers of its useability, mobil-
ity, transportability, habitability and
design," MAJ Williams said.
"During two years of develop-
ment the Hawkei has already been
through blast, ballistic and mobility
testing, but this is the first opportu-
nity to put it in the hands of ADF
personnel and operate the concept
within a military environment."
He said the people testing the
Hawkei were getting a good idea of
what the vehicle could do.
"It is a prototype, though from
what I've seen it's a very capable
vehicle," he said.
"The feedback has been very
positive but also included ideas for
a number of areas where improve-
ments can be made.
"The trial report will be consid-
ered, along with other reports from
the Defence Materiel Organisation
(DMO) and Defence Science and
Technology Organisation, such that
senior staff can make a decision on
recommending it to government."
The Hawkei, also known as a
Protected Mobility Vehicle -- Light,
aims to give commanders the option
of a protected vehicle smaller and
lighter than a Bushmaster.
MAJ Chad Stonier, Hawkei test
engineer from DMO, said the vehi-
cle was lighter than a Bushmaster
(PMV-Medium) but offered a level
of protection not available in the
"You would take it somewhere
you can't put a G-Wagon because
of the threat level and can't take a
PMV-Medium because of weight,"
"I'd say you could take it any-
where the ADF goes and wants to
provide protection for its people."
Designed by Thales and assem-
bled in Australia, the Hawkeis come
in recon, command and utility vari-
ants.An Austrian-made six-cylinder
twin-turbo diesel Steyr engine pow-
ers the Hawkei through a six-speed
A V-shaped hull protects the
underside of the cabin from mines
and IEDs while Israeli-made ceram-
ic composite armour is bolted to
steel plates protecting the sides and
"We call it a blast plate sand-
wich," MAJ Stonier said. "It allows
it to withstand all sorts of small
And the Hawkei's armoured
windows wouldn't be a weak point
on the vehicle.
"We tested the windscreen with
.50 cal rounds and they didn't pen-
etrate," MAJ Stonier said.
The Hawkei weighs about seven
If a Bushmaster is too big and things are too dangerous for a G-Wagon, you could
one day find yourself in a Hawkei, explains CPL Max Bree.
Hawkei a tough option
tonnes and its Israeli-made armour
can be taken off to reduce weight
during air transport.
"You can remove the armour
and take it down 900kg," he said.
"We gave a 30-minute require-
ment to achieve that. Obviously it
comes down to the team that does
the work but we've found it takes
about 20-25 minutes and the ute
takes about 15 minutes."
Instead of a starter motor and
alternator, the Hawkei features a
giant coil around the flywheel
known as an integrated starter gen-
The coil energises the flywheel
to start the vehicle, then it generates
So much power is produced the
vehicle can be used as a 65kW gen-
erator thanks to external power out-
lets.Four-wheel steering is anoth-
er feature that MAJ Stonier said
should prove useful if Defence
decided to accept the vehicle into
"It's not an option we need right
now but it's something we may
need in future," he said.
He said the ability to add trailers
to the vehicles and configure them
for certain tasks would future-proof
"If you asked a commander
what he wants in a vehicle he'd just
say 'I want the flexibility to make
my own decisions when I need to',"
"We have to ask ourselves: is the
war we fight in the next five to eight
years going to be the one we fight
today or is it going to be different?"
If the government opts to buy
the vehicles, 1300 Hawkeis will
replace a third of the Land Rover
fleet, with the rest replaced by
G-Wagons. If so, production would
commence in 2016-17.
TESTING TIME: SGT Daniel Halsall, of 1 SECFOR, spends time
behind the wheel of the Hawkei during trials in north Queensland;
inset, a prototype Hawkei is put through its paces during an
Australian Defence Test and Evaluation Office trial of the vehicle.
Photos: CPL Max Bree
TO GIVE an Air Force perspective on the new Hawkeis, three airmen
tested the vehicles alongside soldiers.
SGT Daniel Halsall, of 1 SECFOR, spent time behind the wheel
and in the passenger seat of the new vehicles.
"They're good to drive and have a good off-road capability," he
"So far they can go anywhere. There's a little bit of lag at the
beginning when you start accelerating but apparently that's a gearbox
issue that's going to be fixed. It's not a major issue in seeing how it
performs as an off-road vehicle."
SGT Halsall found the Hawkeis to be a smooth ride that could
find a place in the Security Force squadrons.
"There are plenty of uses for us as Airfield Defence Guards if it
comes into service," he said. "We could use the command variant for
squadron and flight HQs or for use by the comms guys.
"The ute could be used by the Military Working Dog handlers
with a dog pod on the back. And they could also be used as part of
the quick reaction teams."
SGT Halsall did have some reservations.
"The engine could be protected better, so it's not as easy to get a
mobility kill [which happens when the engine is destroyed]," he said.
"If that happened, then you might have to get out and fight your way
through, but you're safe in the cabin."
MAJ Chad Stonier, DMO's Hawkei test engineer, said the engine
bay wasn't protected to keep the vehicle lightweight.
"It's about trying to strike a balance between protection and sur-
vivability along with the ability to make it airlift capable and make it
light," he said.
There were other areas of improvement being identified to the
"They could also put the spare wheel back on the vehicle, then
you wouldn't have to worry about the trailer," SGT Halsall said. "It
should be an optional extra not a necessity."
MAJ Stonier said a spare tyre wasn't on the Hawkei to reduce
weight but future developments may include an attachment point to
give the option of taking a spare.
"It's the balance between what do I need as support and what I
need to fight with," he said. "You'll want the flexibility so it can be a
logistics vehicle, a fighting vehicle or a recon vehicle but you do have
the option of going on run-flats if your tyres are punched."
An Air Force mechanic and communications specialist were also
involved in the testing to give their feedback on the vehicles.
All three airmen will submit reports to the trial manager on the
vehicle's possible use with the RAAF.
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