SYDNEY, Australia - Germany's Rheinmetall MAN and French company Thales won contracts Dec. 12 worth billions of dollars to supply thousands of new military vehicles for the Australian Defence Force.
Rheinmetall MAN Military Vehicles Australia will provide up to 2,700 protected and unprotected medium and heavy vehicles, Defence Minister Stephen Smith said.
There will be an option for approximately 1,000 more for training purposes.
"The new vehicles will improve performance and protection, as well as provide commonality across the fleet which will improve Army's training and logistic support requirements," said Smith.
He declined to say what the contract was worth, saying only that it was expected to be more than an original budget estimate from August 2007, when the government targeted about 3 billion Australian dollars for replacement vehicles.
In addition, Thales Australia's Hawkei unit was selected as the preferred supplier for a 1.5 billion-Australian-dollar contract to supply up to 1,300 protected and unprotected light vehicles, Smith added.