Heuch exports Support Master for Rheinmetall Germany

Keeping military vehicles in fighting shape is no easy task:

Keeping dirt, water and mould at bay, battery preservation and limiting engine run time are significant maintenance issues for military land systems.  The Victorian designed and manufactured Support Master by Heuch drastically reduces the effort and costs associated with systems life cycle maintenance and maintains vehicles in a mission ready state at all times.  The Support Master also allows of continuous operation of electronic systems during training without increasing engine running hours, further reducing the maintenance burden.

Heuch’s Support Master combines generation of dry air for the conservation of electronics and materials, as well as providing smart battery conditioning and support charging.  Dry air passes through the interior of vehicles and equipment kits preventing corrosion and mould growth.

(Picture 2 – Corrosion)

(Picture 2 – Mould Growth)

 

While the intelligent battery charger maintains the vehicle in a mission ready state, increases life and reduces costs of batteries and operation of systems without idling engine.

Rheinmetall ordered the Support Masters as part of a larger land systems deal to Lithuania, with more orders expected from NATO allies soon.

Glen Hardham, Engineering Manager for Heuch, attributed their export success to their innovative solution and ability to rapidly move from prototype to production.  “We received great support from Rheinmetall Australia to help get this world class product into their global supply chain.  I’m proud that we have proven Australian SME manufacturers can still compete and win on a global scale.”

However, Glen is most enthusiastic about the benefit the project brought to Heuch’ s team.  “To pursue this opportunity, we took on an engineering intern from one of Melbourne’s leading Universities and brought on two new apprentices full time.  While the intern has returned to studies, I’m proud he’ll have a significant project win to place on his resume and the apprentices have simply been fantastic, taking real ownership of this job!  With continued export success we are looking to add another to our team.”

(Picture 4 – Heuch MD, Steve Oakley during prototype trials with Rheinmetall’s’ Boxer in Germany; late 2018)

(Picture 5 – Heuch Apprentice Refrigeration Mechanic Emma, with two production units; 2019)

While the Support Master was designed for Rheinmetall’s Boxer, it is compatible with most military vehicles.  “There is an opportunity for us to significantly reduce the ADF’s vehicle life cycle costs with our unit. Not just with the recently ordered Boxers, but with all our land systems.  Similarly, with further help from Government and Rheinmetall Australia, we hope to see the Support Master in service with other EU defence forces into the future”, explained Glen.

Service Master Benefits:

  • Reduction of scheduled maintenance at crew-level
    • Time saving of monthly crew service  => 8 h/vehicle
  • Eliminate mould risks
    • No hygienic risk for the crew
    • No downtime of the vehicle
    • No decontamination costs
      (ca. 10,000 € per vehicle excluding exchange of spare parts)
  • Avoidance of corrosion
    • Extension of equipment life time
    • Reduction of maintenance time and effort
    • (Removal of corrosion damage accounts for approx. 20% of the maintenance budgets)
  • Batteries/ electrical system and equipment
    • Extension of life time of batteries
    • Reduction of spare part costs
    • Reduction of engine run time and maintenance
  • Storage costs
    • Reduction of stocks for a lower capital commitment
    • Reduction of administration and clearing efforts at depot
  • Maintenance effort (corrective)
    • Reduction of unplanned maintenance activities
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LAND 400 Phase 2 decision revealed

After months of anticipation, Defence Connect can reveal that Rheinmetall Australia has been selected as the successful tenderer for the hotly-contested LAND 400 Phase 2 program.

Rheinmetall’s bid, comprising of the Boxer CRV, has beaten out BAE Systems Australia AMV-35 offering.

The project, worth up to $5 billion, will see Rheinmetall deliver up to 225 combat reconnaissance vehicles to the Australia Army.

Under the company’s offering to the Commonwealth, Rheinmetall will build a majority of the vehicles in Queensland. The first 25 vehicles will be built in Germany in a move Rheinmetall says will support the transfer of technology. Australians will be embedded into teams in Germany to learn the necessary skills before transferring back to Australia for the build of the remaining 200 CRVs.

While the first 25 vehicles are being built overseas, Rheinmetall will establish its manufacturing hub, the Military Vehicle Centre of Excellence (MILVEHCOE) in Brisbane.

The MILVEHCOE was announced by Rheinmetall last July and will act as a sovereign industrial capability for the continuous design, manufacture, export and support for military vehicles, turrets and tactical systems.

As a centre of excellence, the MILVEHCOE will be the focal point for the LAND 400 combat vehicles, LAND 121 logistics vehicles and other complex defence projects. Under the LAND 121 Phase 3B program, Rheinmetall is delivering more than 2,500 logistics trucks to the Australian Army.

Rheinmetall has partnered with several Australian SMEs for the project, including Melbourne’s Heuch, Cablex and Tectonica Australia, Burnie-based Direct Edge, Brisbane-based G&O Kert, Melbourne/Brisbane-based Hilton Manufacturing, Perth-based Hoffman Engineering, Melbourne-based Nezkot Precision Tooling and Engineering, Adelaide-based Plasteel and Adelaide-based Redarc.

Read the full article here.

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Victorian technology company wins export contract for Boxer program

A Dandenong company’s revolutionary transportable power and dehumidification packs will go into service with Rheinmetall’s Boxer Infantry Fighting Vehicles in Lithuania.

Rheinmetall Defence Australia and Victoria’s Heuch, which has been a supplier to the Australian Defence Force since shortly after its inception in 1970, will today announce the major export agreement.

Under the agreement with LAND 400 Phase 2 bidder Rheinmetall Defence Australia, family-owned Heuch will design, develop and manufacture 88 made-to-order mobile units that will increase the lifetime of batteries operating in each Boxer vehicle. The mobile unit is placed next to each stationary Boxer and delivers a charge to batteries ensuring it is immediately operational.

The technology, designed at the company’s Dandenong South operations, will also incorporate a dehumidifier that delivers dry air into the interior of the vehicle when it is stationary to eliminate corrosion and mould.

Rheinmetall Defence Australia managing director Gary Stewart said Heuch’s commitment to innovation, capability and high performance gave it the leading edge over other international suppliers.

“Heuch has demonstrated how Australian manufacturing capability can open up new and exciting opportunities for local SMEs in offshore markets under our global supply chain agreement,” Stewart said.

“This comes at a critical time for many Australian companies seeking new markets and Rheinmetall’s worldwide leadership in the military vehicles sector will provide a new pathway to global markets.”

Heuch managing director Steve Oakley said the company, which has 16 direct employees and counts the Royal Australian Air Force, Thales and the Defence Science and Technology Group as its customers, was pleased to have the opportunity to collaborate with Rheinmetall and to achieve international recognition for a new product designed and developed in Victoria.

“The team at Heuch are very proud to have such a strong history meeting defence force requirements and this project is no exception,” Oakley said.

“We heavily leverage our continuing R&D program and our association with Monash University and RMIT University to keep abreast of international trends and opportunities.”

The export agreement will form part of the Boxer Infantry Fighting Vehicle (IFV) Project in Lithuania, which will be delivered by ARTEC – a joint venture between Rheinmetall and KMW.

The Republic of Lithuania has signed a contract for the procurement of 88 Boxer vehicles in four Infantry Fighting Vehicle versions, called “VILKAS” within the Lithuanian Armed Forces. The Infantry Fighting Vehicles will be equipped with a remote controlled turret with a 30mm cannon and an anti-tank missile.

Rheinmetall is bidding its Boxer Combat Reconnaissance Vehicle in Australia through the LAND 400 Phase 2 program, and the vehicle is also being offered to the UK through the ARTEC joint venture bid for the Mechanised Infantry Vehicle (MIV) program. The Boxer has also just been selected by the Republic of Slovenia for a new Central Battalion Battle Group.

This latest announcement between Rheinmetall and Heuch comes after West Melbourne’s Tectonica Australia landed an export agreement with Rheinmetall for its Australian-designed and developed local situational awareness system (LSAS), which acts as the eyes and ears for soldiers in combat to increase awareness and protection.

Rheinmetall is up against BAE Systems, which has offered the AMV-35 to be built in Victoria, for LAND 400 Phase 2.

Under the German company’s bid for the project, which is worth up to $5 billion, 225 combat reconnaissance vehicles for the Australian Army will be built in Queensland if Rheinmetall is successful.

Along with Heuch and Tectonica Australia, Rheinmetall has partnered with several other Australian SMEs for the project, including Melbourne-based Cablex, Burnie-based Direct Edge, Brisbane-based G&O Kert, Melbourne/Brisbane-based Hilton Manufacturing, Perth-based Hoffman Engineering, Melbourne-based Nezkot Precision Tooling and Engineering, Adelaide-based Plasteel and Adelaide-based Redarc.

Rheinmetall has also partnered with BlueScope, which would see the Port Kembla steelworks company deliver thousands of tonnes of feedstock for the LAND 400 Phase 2 project.

The company has also committed to establishing a Military Vehicle Centre of Excellence (MILVEHCOE), which will be the global manufacturing base for the Boxer CRV, the company’s new Lynx Infantry Fighting Vehicle and range of Lance turrets under its LAND 400 offering to Australia.

The government will make a decision on the LAND 400 Phase 2 project in the first half of this year, with the national security committee expected to make a decision on the project this month.

The original article can be found here.

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