PPG’s Clayton, Victoria, production plant recently welcomed a special visit from ‘Hawkei’. Not to be confused with the ‘Hawkeye’ Pierce character from the seventies TV show, MASH, this rugged 4X4 vehicle is actually the next generation ‘light protected vehicle’ for the Australian Defence Force (ADF). Named after a species of death adder (Acanthophis hawkei) found in Queensland, it is designed and built in Australia by Thales (a global leader for aerospace, transport, defence and security markets) at the company’s manufacturing facility in Bendigo, Victoria. Replacing the ADF’s aging Land Rover vehicles, Hawkei is aimed at filling roles, such as troop movement, command and control, electronic warfare, surveillance and reconnaissance.
Already a key supplier partner on the previous Bushmaster vehicle project, PPG’s Commercial Performance Coatings team has worked closely with Thales since the inception of the Hawkei project in 2009. This has seen PPG appointed to supply all the coatings (including an APAS approved primer and range of camouflage colours) designed to not only protect the vehicle’s structure but also make it more difficult to detect in a conflict situation.
All these products from the Commercial Performance Coatings portfolio are manufactured at PPG Clayton so the recent visit was to thank PPG production staff for their efforts. Thales staff made a series of presentations about the Hawkei project and, throughout the day, PPG staff had the opportunity to take a close look at the results of their products in action, says Chris Davis, Business Director Commercial Performance Coatings.
Ultimately, the Hawkei project will see the delivery of 1,100 vehicles and over 1,000 trailers which are set to be manufactured over a 3.5-year production phase.