The United States Army has selected Australia's leading defense company ADI Limited as one of two remaining contenders for a $500 million military vehicles contract.
If ADI's vehicle is selected, the company will have won one of the biggest defense contracts ever awarded to an Australian company by the US.
ADI's selection to enter the next phase of the bid process for the lucrative contract has just netted ADI an initial contract to develop three trial vehicles for the US Army for delivery by next April. The US Army's evaluation of the vehicles will be completed by the end of 2004.
The US Army is seeking up to 1500 next generation, high mobility engineering excavators (HMEE). ADI is currently supplying the US with 40 interim HMEEs and last October was invited with its US partner, Oshkosh Truck Company, to bid to develop the evaluation vehicles for the bigger contract. ADI is competing against a US subsidiary of a United Kingdom company for the contract.
ADI managing director, Mr. Lucio Di Bartolomeo, said the evaluation vehicles, which will incorporate a number of specified options and an enhancement package, would be developed at the company's Bendigo specialist vehicles facility in regional Victoria.
"This short-listing by such a vital military customer is a very exciting opportunity for ADI," he said. "It will also significantly enhance our efforts to market our military and specialist vehicles design and development capabilities internationally."
The interim HMEE is a variation of the high mobility engineering vehicle (HMEV) in service with the Australian Army. ADI designed, developed and manufactured the HMEV at Bendigo to meet an Australian Army need for a highly mobile, self deploying engineering vehicle and it has subsequently been sold to Canada and the UAE.
The HMEV is believed to be the only vehicle in the world to offer the cross-country performance of a four-wheel drive, the earth moving functions of a front-end loader and backhoe and a highway speed of 100km/h.
ADI has also developed and is manufacturing the Bushranger infantry mobility vehicle for the Australian Army. The vehicle, which offers an unrivalled package of mine blast and ballistic protection, has passed the first stage of a new testing regime and has begun initial production at Bendigo.
-ends- ADI Short-Listed For $500 Million US Contract