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The Protected Mobility Vehicle — Light project aims to provide the Australian Defence Force with highly mobile field vehicles that are protected from ballistic and blast threats. The Department of Defence (Defence) commenced the acquisition process in 2006, and in 2008 adopted a strategy to procure the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle (JLTV) being developed by the United States. The vehicle ultimately selected in 2015 was the Australian-developed Hawkei vehicle designed by Thales Australia (Thales).

This project was selected for audit because of the materiality of the procurement, the adoption of a sole-source procurement strategy, the time taken to select a vehicle, and the risk involved in manufacturing a relatively small run of vehicles when the United States was beginning a similar but much larger program.

The objective of the audit was to assess the effectiveness and value for money of Defence’s acquisition of light protected vehicles, under Defence project Land 121 Phase 4. To form a conclusion against the audit objective, the ANAO adopted the following high-level criteria:

  • Defence conducted an effective procurement process that achieved value for money.
  • Defence has established effective project governance and contracting arrangements.

The audit method involved:

  • fieldwork at Defence’s Land Systems Division in Melbourne, Defence’s vehicle testing facility at Monegeetta (Victoria), Defence’s explosives testing facility at Graytown (Victoria), the Thales facility in Bendigo (Victoria) and the Thales computing laboratory in Rydalmere (New South Wales);
  • analysis of information from Defence systems covering the period 2006–18; and
  • interviews with Defence project personnel and contractors.
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Auditor-General Report No.6 2018–19