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Japan to procure Hawkei, Eagle light vehicles for trials

Thales Australia's Hawkei – pictured above in service with the Australian Army – and General Dynamics Land Systems' Eagle are competing to supply the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force with a successor to its locally built Light Armoured Vehicle. (Commonwealth of Australia)

The Japan Ministry of Defense (MoD) will procure Thales Australia's Hawkei and General Dynamics Land Systems' Eagle protected mobility vehicles for trials as part of the Japan Ground Self-Defense Force's (JGSDF) acquisition of a new wheeled armoured vehicle.

“This fiscal year we are going to procure the Hawkei and Eagle [vehicles] for demonstration [purposes],” an MoD spokesperson told Janes. “We will select [one of the vehicles for the JGSDF] based on the demonstration results.”

The wheeled armoured vehicle programme aims to replace the JGSDF's ageing fleet of nearly 2,000 Komatsu 4×4 Light Armoured Vehicles (LAVs).

The Japan MoD spokesperson said the number of new vehicles to be procured is “under consideration”. The spokesperson added, “The date [of the selection of vehicle and contract award] has not been fixed yet because it will be decided based on the demonstration results.”

According to Janes Land Warfare Platforms: Armoured Fighting Vehicles, the Hawkei is a 4×4 light protected mobility utility vehicle designed and built to provide greater protection for troops.

According to Thales, the Hawkei can be equipped with a 7.62 mm to 12.7 mm main gun or a 40 mm automatic grenade launcher. The Hawkei has a kerb weight of seven tonnes and a payload of three tonnes.

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