Australia has confirmed one of the largest defense export deals in its history selling armored combat vehicles to Germany. The $661million announcement was made by Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese after he arrived in Berlin ahead of talks at a NATO summit in Lithuania.
Australia will supply Germany with 100 Brisbane-made Boxer armored combat vehicles from 2025.
The deal is worth $661 million and is expected to be formally signed on Tuesday.
Analysts have said the Boxer heavy assault vehicle, which is armed with a cannon, has a reputation for mobility, firepower and protection from explosives with a reinforced hull and wheel housings. The Australian-made assault vehicles will eventually replace aging heavy weapons carriers in German army platoons.
German defense contractor Rheinmetall started producing the Boxer Combat Reconnaissance Vehicle in the Australian state of Queensland in March. It has a contract to supply more than 200 vehicles to the Australian military.
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has seen European nations replenish military hardware, which has given Australia the opportunity to export German military technology back to Germany.
Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese told reporters in Berlin, Germany Sunday that it was a historic arms deal for his country.
“This will be one of our largest-ever exports," he said. [It] will guarantee that the 1,000 jobs that are there in Queensland will go into the future and will be worth in excess of AUD$1 billion for the Australian economy. This will boost our sovereignty; this will increase our defense capability and boost our economy.”
Albanese also is scheduled to meet German Chancellor Olaf Scholz Monday to discuss the war in Ukraine and security in the Indo-Pacific region.
Australia is one of the largest non-NATO contributors to Kyiv’s war effort.
Canberra has recently approved an additional $73.3m in military aid to Ukraine.
On Sunday, Education Minister Jason Clare told local media that while there had been criticism that Australia's assistance to repel the February 2022 Russian invasion was not enough, the Canberra government has indicated that more support could be on its way, although no details were given.
Albanese will also meet the New Zealand prime minister, Chris Hipkins, on his trip to Europe, along with the leaders of Japan and South Korea, who have also been invited to attend this week's NATO summit.