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Rheinmetall awarded contract for biggest defence purchase in Australian history

Staff Writer |
German contractor Rheinmetall has won the AUD 5.2-billion ($4.08 billion) contract to build 211 light armored vehicles for the Australian Army.

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Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said it was the single-largest acquisition in the Australian Army's history with the purchase and maintenance of the vehicles to cost 15.4 billion AU dollars ($12.1 billion).

"As one of the troopers said to me just a moment ago, this is about lethality and survivability. This is about capability and protection," Turnbull said while announcing the contract on Wednesday.

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.

"The Rheinmetall bid was assessed by Defence as being the successful tenderer," Pyne said.

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