During the meeting, which took place at the Australian Embassy in Warsaw, representatives of the Thales company discussed the impact that selection of the Hawkei multipurpose vehicle by the Australian Department of Defence had on the “Pegaz” programme in Poland. These topics have a variety of common ground in between them, when it comes both to the manufacturing process, as well as to the potential competitors. Tomasz Zakrzewski, Thales Polska Director Defence Aerospace & Security, stressed that the decision made by the Australian Department of Defence reinforces the starting position for the Thales’s offer, since the Hawkei vehicle turned out to beat, during the outback tests, the remaining main competing vehicles, involved in the Polish “Pegaz” programme.
Within the context of the Polish “Pegaz” programme, Thales plans to carry out a vast technology transfer. The French company is also willing to cooperate with several Polish businesses, within the scope of participation in the supply chain, cooperation or co-production of the Hawkei vehicle. Five companies have been selected for potential collaboration, at the beginning of 2015. Rosomak S.A. is the main player within that pool, along with the Poznan-based Military Automotive Works and the ZM Tarnów company. The main aim of the negotiations and the planned cooperation is to prepare a joint offer within the framework of the “Pegaz” programme. Secondly, the Polish companies may be included in the supply chain for other potential European customers. Thales company is currently engaged in negotiations involving 3-4 countries, all of which are interested in acquiring the above-described Hawkei vehicles. Thus, should the manufacturing and assembly processes be carried out in Poland, it is also going to be possible to realize orders for the potential foreign buyers.
This is then, the main reason for intensive promotional activities related to the Hawkei vehicles, which could have been witnessed during this year’s edition of the MSPO Kielce event. It is also a cause for organization of the demonstration even at the Sulejowek training range. The latter event was visited both by the media, as well as by the potential end-users. Last year, Thales Australia company presented the Hawkei vehicle to the representatives of the Polish Military Gendarmerie. Not only did the soldiers get a chance to get acquainted with the capabilities of the vehicle, they also could check the load capacity and ergonomics of Hawkei. This included an offroad capabilities test, with fully armed and equipped soldiers of the Military Gendarmerie special unit sitting inside of the vehicle. This year, the audience of the presentation consisted, above all, of the Special Forces operators who, along with the Gendarmerie, are going to become the first users of the “Pegaz” vehicle.
The Polish Army is planning, within the scope of the first phase of the “Pegaz” programme, to acquire 105 vehicles. Until 2022 acquisition of ca. 280 vehicles is being planned. The Gendarmerie is going to be the first unit that is going to utilize the newly purchased cars. The programme is going to be realized, most probably, within a procedure related to significant national security interests, meaning that the tender procedure is not going to be applied in case of this procurement. Contract related to delivery of the initial batch of the vehicles is planned to be signed in the third quarter of the next year, while the deliveries are expected to be realized in 2017. Besides the Thales Hawkei vehicles, the following options are also being considered: General Dynamics Eagle V 4x4, KMW/Rheinmetall AMPV and Kerametal Aligator 4x4.
Hawkei belongs to a class of four wheeled Light Protected Vehicles. The vehicle has been developed as a successor for the Land Rover cars used by the Autstralian armed forces, however it is also being offered for other potential buyers. The vehicle weight is 7 tonnes in the basic configuration, providing a STANAG 1-compliant protection level. However, it is also possible to attain higher level of protection, thanks to a modular armor system, which may be installed on the vehicle or removed within less than 30 minutes. Vehicle’s maximum weight is 10 tonnes. Hawkei is capable of achieving top speed above 100 kilometers per hour. Its range is 600 kilometers.