The Thales Hawkei has been deployed to Iraq as part of the Australian Department of Defence’s LAND 121 project.
Two vehicles – one in the two-door configuration and one in the four-door configuration – have been deployed to Iraq’s Taji Military Complex as part of a test to examine their sustainability in-theatre and ability to deploy to and from an operational area.
Defence Minister Marise Payne said in a statement on 13 January that the vehicles will be employed by soldiers within Task Group Taji Six. As part of the trials, the vehicles will “complete defined tasks designed to ensure we are best prepared to deploy this capability when it enters service”.
“This will enable the Army to learn how to best deploy this capability to an operational environment, and ensure it is ready prior to full production in 2019,” she added.
Task Group Taji is a combined Australian-New Zealand military training force based northwest of Baghdad. The task group’s role is to provide training to the Iraqi military as part of efforts to counter Islamic State and other security threats. Australia has approximately 300 personnel deployed as part of the Task Group, comprising trainers, force protection, and additional support and command elements.
The Australian Defence Force announced in October 2015 that it was to acquire 1,100 Hawkeis through the LAND 121 Phase 4 programme. Designated Protected Mobility Vehicle – Light (PMV-L), the vehicles will be used in the command, liaison, utility, and reconnaissance roles, and will replace the unprotected 4x4 Land Rover vehicles.
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