An A$16 million contract has been awarded to an Australian manufacturer to provide 14 Heavy Tank Transporters and associated commercial repair and maintenance support, Defence Minister Robert Hill announced today.
Senator Hill said Defence has awarded the vehicle contract to MAN Military Vehicles Systems (Australia). The tank transporters will allow the new M1A1 Abram tanks and M88A2 Hercules armoured recovery vehicles to be transported on Australian roads. Senator Hill said more than half of the contract value will be going directly to Australian industry.
"As part of the contract with MAN, Australian owned and operated Brisbane-based company Drake Trailers will manufacture and supply 14 new heavy duty trailers," Senator Hill said. "Brisbane-based MAN Automotive Imports will then make final modifications to another 14 imported Prime Movers and will be conducting compliance testing and managing the ongoing repair and maintenance support. "This is another example of Defence and Australian industry working together to provide new assets for our Defence Force. "The Heavy Tank Transporter represents an important component of the replacement tank capability.
" In October last year, Australia signed an agreement with the United States to buy a new fleet of M1A1 Abrams tanks. Under this agreement, the US Government will provide 59 refurbished and updated M1A1 Abrams tanks, seven M88 Hercules Armoured Recovery vehicles, advanced gunnery and driver training simulators, training and other support equipment and a range of spares. The M1A1 Abrams tanks will provide a major increase in capability over the present Leopard tanks. The new tanks will also provide our soldiers with greatly increased levels of protection and survivability on the battlefield.
Delivery of the Heavy Tank Transporters will commence in mid 2006, in time to meet the first tanks when they arrive from the United States. They will be immediately put to work delivering tanks and recovery vehicles to training establishments and operational units.