German firm gets biggest defence contract in Australian history
Canberra March 14 (IANS) German contractor Rheinmetall has won a $4.08 billion contract to build 211 light armoured vehicles for the Australian Army.
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull while announcing the contract on Wednesday said it was the single-largest acquisition in the Australian Army s history with the purchase and maintenance of the vehicles to cost $12.1 billion.
"This is about lethality and survivability. This is about capability and protection " Xinhua quoted Turnbull as saying.
The vehicles will be built at a new facility in Ipswich west of Brisbane creating 1 450 jobs across Australia.
The federal government also considered a bid by the Britain s BAE Systems which would have built the vehicles in Victoria but Defence Minister Marise Payne said the chosen prototypes had been through rigorous testing.
The vehicles will have a 30-year life and will be equipped for peacekeeping and high-threat operations the Australian Defence Force said.
The opposition Australian Labor Party has accused the government of choosing Rheinmetall s bid to appease voters in marginal electorates in Queensland a suggestion dismissed by Defence Industry Minister Chris Pyne.