The wars in Afghanistan and Iraq have done much to influence modern armored doctrine for the various leading world military powers. Many services have reduced - or outright abandoned - the track-and-wheeled design in favor of developing a more mobile, lightweight fighting force. Protection and reliability are still at the heart of these units and the Thales Australia "Hawkei" Protected Mobility Vehicle (PMV) is a sign of the ongoing global transition.
Like other mobile battlefield systems appearing today, Hawkei is designed with a "multi-mission" mindset allowing one modular chassis to fulfill a variety of battlefield roles. Its internal makeup is such that the vehicle can carry the latest in portable computer systems, electronics and communications sets. The over-chassis body can be acquired in a two- or four-door arrangement to suit buyer needs. With the 2-door selection, the rear section of the hull is cut-down to serve as a flat bed (a payload up to 3.3 tons can be carried). In this fashion, the flexibility inherent in the Hawkei is such that it can full a combination of battlefield roles including that of general troop carrier, light reconnaissance, Intelligence-Surveillance-Reconnaissance (ISR), Electronic Warfare (EW), liaison and Command and Control (C2).
The 2-door variant sits three across while the 4-door model has seating for six.
The vehicle is traditionally arranged as a 4x4 wheeled product. The wheels are well-spaced apart at located at the extreme corners of the design for excellent balance. Ground-clearance is good and, coupled to an effective suspension system, allows for cross-country mobility useful in keeping up with the main fighting force. The doors are automobile-style and hinged, the rear pair hinged at their rear line with the forward pair hinged at their forward line. The forward windshield is angled and bullet resistant against small caliber types. The engine is set within the forward compartment ahead of the driver. Power is to both axles and supplies a maximum road speed of 115 kmh with a range out to 600 kilometers. The 200kW turbocharged diesel-fueled engine is mated to an 8-speed automatic transmission system.
The roof section is home to a turret ring which can accept a Remote Weapon Station (RWS) or manned, trainable weapon system. Supported types include 12.7mm Heavy Machine Guns (HMGs), 7.62mm Medium Machine Guns (MMGs), 5.56mm Light Machine Guns (LMGs) and 40mm Automatic Grenade Launchers (AGLs). The weapons are to provide point-defense of the vehicle or support friendlies in a pinch.
On the whole, much attention has being given to the vehicle's survivability in light of the fighting seen in the Afghanistan and Iraq theaters of war where the Improvised Explosive Device (IED) and Rocket-Propelled Grenade (RPG) have influenced design doctrine. As such, Hawkei is equipped with integrated blast-deflection/protection measures to help the crew survive. Ballistics protection is also measured against the threat and can be elevated to meet the demand of a particular fighting environment.
The vehicle is air-transportable and can be slung under the belly of a Boeing CH-47 Chinook or similar medium-lift transport helicopter. Additionally, it can be transported in the hold of various fixed-wing aircraft types.
October 2015 - The Australian Army has committed to the purchase of 1,100 Hawkei cars to succeed part of its light-armored Land Rover "Perentie" (Land Rover 110) 6x6-wheeled vehicle fleet. The series will be fielded side-by-side with the heavier and larger "Bushmaster" family of PMVs (detailed elsewhere on this site).