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Case study - LAND 121 Phase 3B

Queensland's military vehicle capability is here for the long haul

Queensland's land defence and heavy vehicle industry is reaping the benefits of the Australian Defence Force's (ADF) LAND 121 Phase 3B project that is delivering thousands of next-generation medium and heavy vehicles.

Rheinmetall MAN Military Vehicles Australia (RMMVA), based at Wacol, won the $1.6 billion contract in 2013. With the subsequent involvement of additional local suppliers, this contract demonstrates Queensland's extensive capability to support billion-dollar defence manufacturing contracts. It also highlights Queensland's heavy vehicle expertise, which started gaining momentum in the 1980s.

LAND 121 vehicle being put through its paces.
(Photos: courtesy of Department of Defence)

The multi-phase LAND 121 project is delivering a significant contribution to the modernisation of the Australian Army's land forces. Phase 3B of the project provides the ADF with its next generation of 2500 medium and heavy vehicles, 1500 trailers and more than 3000 modules. The new vehicles represent a generational advancement in capability as they replace the Army's ageing B fleet of heavy vehicles.

Queensland's defence heavy vehicle capability has been growing for the past three decades, starting when Volvo Australia, headquartered in Brisbane, began supplying and maintaining the Army's heavy vehicle B fleet. Now, a generation later, the B fleet is being replaced by LAND 121 heavy vehicles, that are also being integrated and supported here in Queensland. Volvo Australia has also continued to grow, with its Volvo Truck Production facility at Wacol now the largest assembly plant for heavy-duty trucks in Australia - confirming that Queensland's heavy vehicle capability is here for the long haul.

Why Queensland?

Queensland is now Australia's largest manufacturer of heavy vehicles and the Queensland Government is building on this capability to position the state as a defence industry powerhouse. It is leveraging an impressive hub of expertise and already supports billions of dollars worth of defence vehicle contracts. The $1.6 billion LAND 121 Phase 3B contract awarded to RMMVA, which runs until 2020, is a great example.

Defence Industries Queensland

The Queensland Government, through Defence Industries Queensland (DIQld), is working with companies in the defence supply chain and those who wish to enter, to facilitate growth across the state's defence industries.

The team strives to optimise the 'multiplier effect' of large defence contracts and the opportunities they provide. A key part of this work involves DIQld's 'business-matching' expertise. DIQld assists companies to find suppliers with the specific capabilities they need and, conversely, helps companies new to defence to understand the expectations of the sector and how to enter the supply chain and win contracts.

From contract to production

The multiplier effect has been significant since RMMVA was awarded the LAND 121 Phase 3B contract four years ago, leading to further growth in Queensland's defence heavy vehicle sector. For example, Haulmark Tailers at Rocklea won an ADF contract, through a separate tender, to supply trailers for the new vehicles.

LAND 121 module being unloaded
(Photos: courtesy of Department of Defence)

Similarly, Holmwood Highgate, a tanker manufacturer based at Logan, entered the defence supply chain for the first time. This serves as a great example of DIQld's business matching success. RMMVA approached DIQld soon after being awarded the contract. It was seeking the skills required to deliver the modules, which perform a crucial role in logistics support.

By working closely with RMMVA and the Industry Capability Network, DIQld identified Holmwood Highgate and facilitated its introduction to RMMVA. The Queensland manufacturer is now supplying specially-designed liquid modules and integrated tankers for the Phase 3B project.

Read more about business matching in Holmwood Highgate's Case study

Current status

The Australian Army accepted the first delivery of the LAND 121 Phase 3B vehicles and trailers at the Gallipoli Barracks in Brisbane in April 2016. The vehicles are being delivered in the following configurations:

  • heavy trucks (equipment transporters)
  • medium and heavy recovery vehicles
  • heavy truck variants (self-loading hook-lift trucks, fuel trucks and tippers)
  • medium-weight truck variants (tray, tray with crane and tippers).

The delivery of the new fleet, scheduled to continue until 2020, demonstrates the capability of Queensland's supply chain to deliver on significant defence contracts.