$4.28 Billion Boxer Multipurpose Combat Vehicles Are Partly Effective

The tender process for the Australian Army’s new fleet of combat reconnaissance vehicles totalling nearly $4.28 billion was only “partly effective”, learned GDC citing Canberra Times.

The Auditor-General’s report into a 2018 Department of Defence tender, released Thursday, highlighted some flaws in the process eventually awarded to contractor Rheinmetall in a $4.28 billion deal.

While it found Defense was effective in detailing its requirements and evaluating the tender process, the report said a number of aspects lacked other details and skipped steps, resulting in being “partially effective”.

It added there were “gaps” in relevant documentation relating to the tender process as well as shortcomings in the project’s management of conflict of interest.

“Defense’s management in these respects has not been fully effective for a project that is developmental in nature and is to replace a capability that is expected to reach its life of type in 2020,” the report read.

The $4.28 billion contract forms part of a larger capability upgrade, referred to as Land 400, that will undertake four discrete projects, including the Australian Army’s new fleet of more than 200 Boxer combat reconnaissance vehicles.

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It’s estimated to cost somewhere between $14 and $20 billion once fully delivered.

Twenty-five of the Boxer vehicles are expected to be delivered by December 2020 to provide an early deployable capability with a further 186 vehicles due between February 2022 and January 2027.

 

Chief of Army, Lieutenant General Rick Burr (left) is taken for a drive in an 8x8 Boxer Combat Reconnaissance Vehicle in Queensland. Picture: Department of Defence
Chief of Army, Lieutenant General Rick Burr (left) is taken for a drive in an 8×8 Boxer Combat Reconnaissance Vehicle in Queensland. Picture: Department of Defense

“Defense acknowledges the findings in relation to the tender process, and that schedule constraints, coupled with the costs of participating in the 12-month risk mitigation activity, resulted in at least two companies declining to bid,” a response to the report by Defence read.

Defence maintained the process still managed to deliver a “lethal, relevant and effective land combat vehicle capability” for Australia’s future.

“Over the 30 years that the CRV is expected to be in service, this approach will direct more than $10 billion toward local defense industry, employ significant numbers of Australian workers and support potential export opportunities,” Defense’s response read.

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