Australian troops helped design the Block II Boxer vehicle

The Australian Defense Force has revealed that ahead of the delivery of more Boxer reconnaissance vehicles, three soldiers from the 2nd/14th Light Horse Regiment (LHR) contributed to the design of the platform in late 2023.

Between 2019 and 2021, the Army inducted 25 Boxer vehicles as part of Block I in order to provide a temporary cavalry. Delivery of the remaining 186 Block II vehicles will begin this year, drawing on the experience of the operators of the Block I vehicles.

The tests were conducted in Unterluss, Germany and included firing the MK30-2 cannon and MAG58 machine gun in extreme weather conditions, as well as testing the capability of new programmable munitions.

The tests included firing the MK30-2 cannon and the MAG58 machine gun in extreme weather conditions, as well as testing the capability of new programmable munitions.

Crew Commander Lt Gen Ben Crawford and Driver Trooper Liam Skinner fired 30mm training and programmable rounds from the gun in the Block II turret.

The visit included a briefing on Block II vehicle design, combat information, surveillance and reconnaissance system operation and new weapons control systems.

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Boxer development

The Boxer MIV is an 8×8 armored multi-purpose vehicle operated by the European Armaments Organisation, the Organization for Common Armaments Cooperation (OCCAR). The vehicle can operate both in high-intensity conflicts and in relief and humanitarian aid operations.

While manufactured by Rheinmetall in Hamburg, Germany Australian workforce involved in the construction of the vehicles will be used to support the maintenance, progressive development and upgrade of the Boxer. They will also be used to support potential export opportunities.

Some variants of the vehicle will be equipped with an anti-tank guided missile and a remote weapons station – Block I (Kongsberg) and Block II (Electro-Optical Systems).

Boxer production is also facilitated by OCCAR. Australia joined as an “observer state”, where formation and lessons learned from participating nations would be shared with the Commonwealth.

A cooperative relationship between all user countries will remain throughout the vehicle’s life cycle through OCCAR, as customers will be able to share parts and components of the interoperable platform.

In fact, it was recently announced that the UK will need to grant “temporary concessions” for a mix of Boxer components over the next year or two. This will involve reaching out to fellow OCCAR participants in the Boxer program – Germany, Lithuania and the Netherlands – for their spare parts that can be used for the UK Boxers as the nation waits for its own supply chain to deliver.

Block II is more military centric

Trooper Skinner was impressed with the intense focus on crew safety:

“The implementation of an emergency escape hatch for the driver in the Block II design ensures improved survivability. Seeing the lessons learned from Block I now being applied to Block II gave me confidence going forward.”

Soldiers participated in a working group with Rheinmetall in Kassel to support future design options for the Boxer with an active protection system.

They were also briefed on the ballistics testing and detonation program in Germany and Australia.

“I found it incredibly rewarding to see the input that Soldiers from 2/14 LHR have made on the Block II Boxer design, particularly the weapon systems crew operation, and to be able to tell them how it has been implemented.” Crawford said.

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