Last week the Australian Government announced that the Queensland-based bid by German military manufacturer Rheinmetall had won a large army contract to build $5 billion worth of light armoured vehicles.
The contract will see Rheinmetall deliver at least 211 of the latest generation Boxer 8×8 vehicles and also allows for the commencement of a brand new high-tech manufacturing industry for South East Queensland.
As a result of the contract with the Australian Army, Rheinmetall Defence Australia has submitted a development application to build a permanent headquarters for its Australian and Asia-Pacific markets.
The headquarters, which will be known as the Military Vehicle Centre of Excellence (MILVEHCOE), is envisaged to be a campus of high-quality industrial production, testing facilities and administration buildings in a landscaped setting that compliments its location adjacent to the Brisbane River at 7001 Robert Smith Street, Redbank.
Rheinmetall Defence Australia expects that the MILVEHCOE facility will employ around 470 staff over the first 10 years of operation.
This will include 370 new long term jobs, which in turn will allow Rheinmetall to transfer cutting-edge technologies to Australia in the areas of military vehicle design, production, turret systems, sensors, survivability, simulation and through life support and create a national asset for military vehicle production in Australia.
This transfer of technology, coupled with the scale of the Land 400 based Australian design and manufacturing, will underpin the establishment of an export-oriented military vehicle industry that will collaborate with academic institutions in companion technologies and see significant development in small to medium businesses around Australia that cooperate with Rheinmetall through the MILVEHCOE.
Over time the role of the MILVEHCOE will expand to include the sustainment and upgrading of these vehicles as well as producing, sustaining and upgrading other vehicles in the Rheinmetall fleet for clients in the Asia-Pacific region.
Military Vehicle Centre of Excellence Facility
Main Production Facility
The Production Facility/Warehouse Building is the dominant structure on the site and has a total GFA of 32,057 sqm, which is comprised of the main production workshop (22,382 sqm), warehouse (7,599 sqm) and mezzanine level offices and amenities (2,060 sqm).
The production facilities within the building include two assembly lines, and facilities for welding, spray painting and sand blasting. The building also houses the MEC, heavy maintenance facilities and a small area on the mezzanine level for SEOSS testing.
A three storey, 2,934 sqm administration building is also planned which will house a range of functions including engineering, procurement, project management, finance, legal, marketing, management and employee recreation facilities.
As the MILVEHCOE is Rheinmetall’s largest facility outside Germany this building will also function as RDA’s Australia-Pacific headquarters.
The ground floor of the building contains, offices, reception, meeting rooms, display area and amenities. There is also a large kitchen facility and canteen capable of meeting the dining needs of all workers on the site.
The first and second floors contain more offices, meeting rooms and amenities. There is also a large deck which provides a recreation area for staff on the first floor. The office areas of the building are oriented to overlook the Vehicle Compliance Test Track and the Brisbane River beyond that.
The design of the building is based on Rheinmetall’s established designs from their facilities in Europe. These design principles have then been modified to ensure the buildings are appropriate for a Queensland context and climate.
The administrative activities on the site will also include a Corporate Function Facility for entertaining clients, briefing and training sessions.
Corporate Function Centre
The Corporate Function Facility will provide for the entertainment of key clients and act as a multi-purpose venue for corporate presentations, vehicle and equipment displays, staff briefings and functions, and the like. The building is oriented to overlook the Brisbane River to the north and the Vehicle Compliance Test Track to the East.
The building has a GFA of 376 sqm and contains a multi-purpose auditorium/display area, dining room and bar, catering and kitchen area, amenities and covered outdoor areas.
Like the Administration Building, the building design is based on Rheinmetall’s established designs from their facilities in Europe. The design principles have then been modified to suit a Queensland context and climate.
To meet the commissioning requirements for the vehicles produced the site will also contain:
- An Electro-magnetic Compatibility (EMC) Facility – which is an electro-magnetic compatibility test chamber and associated work spaces.
- A Vehicle Compliance Test Track – which will be used to confirm that vehicles meet the agreed performance specifications prior to delivery to RDA’s clients.
- A Weapons Test Firing Range – which is a 100 metre long, fully-enclosed, zero-safety-template firing range which will be used to test the main and secondary armament of the vehicles prior to delivery to RDA’s clients.
- A facility to test the laser rangefinder contained in the Stablised Electro-optical Sighting System (SEOSS) which is a compact digital fire control unit that can be bolted on to the Boxer vehicle.
Once peak production is reached it is expected that the MILVEHCOE facility will typically produce:
- One Boxer every three days
- One logistics vehicle every day
These production levels will be reflected in the extent of compliance testing that occurs on the site. Compliance testing will only be undertaken during the 7am to 6pm period. Typical weekly use of the vehicle compliance test track will be as follows:
- Boxer – Duration approximately 3 hours, 2-3 times per week.
- Logistics vehicle – Duration approximately 3 hours, 5 times per week.
The development application number for this project is 662552.