Australia to sign major deal to export $1bn worth of hi-tech armoured Boxer vehicles

A billion dollar deal to export Queensland-made hi-tech armoured vehicles is a step closer to being inked.

Germany’s parliament has approved a plan to buy more than 100 Boxer heavy weapon carrier vehicles manufactured at weapons manufacturer Rheinmetall’s factory in Ipswich.

The agreement, to be signed by Defence Industry Minister Pat Conroy on Thursday, has been described as the single largest defence export agreement in our nation’s history.

It’s understood the plan would sustain more than 600 jobs in the Sunshine State alone.

Last year, Prime Minister Anthony Albanese used a visit to Berlin to discuss defence and trade with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, and announced Australia had signed an in-principle agreement to supply the vehicles to Germany from 2025.

“This is one of the biggest defence sales in Australia’s history – and is worth over $1 billion to the Australian economy in the production and supply of these vehicles,” Mr Albanese said at the time.

“The agreement will boost Australia’s sovereign defence industry, secure local jobs and contribute to Australia’s economic growth.”

But a decision to award a South Korean company the lucrative contract to replace 129 Australia’s Vietnam-era infantry fighting vehicles put the deal in doubt.

At the time, Mr Conroy said the government considered the Land 400 contract a “separate matter” to the German export deal.

“We will continue to engage with the government of Germany on that. We are very hopeful that will continue,” he said last July.

Despite the initial rumblings, German politicians signed off in favour of the deal overnight.

Rheinmetall began making the combat reconnaissance vehicle last March, under a contract to supply 211 vehicles to the Australian military, creating 1,000 jobs over a decade.

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