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APV wins $US500,000 defence export contract

Safety first: Harry Hickling with team leader Sue Singh at one of APV’s restraint production lines at its factory in Campbellfield, where more than 150,000 seatbelts are manufactured each year.

Australian restraint supplier APV lands major military deal with BAE Systems in US

14 May 2020

AUSTRALIAN automotive, defence and industrial restraint manufacturer APV has won a $US500,000 ($A777,000) export contract with BAE Systems in the United States, supplying passenger seatbelts to be used in next-generation amphibious and land military vehicle platforms.


The contract will run for three years – with the option of a fourth – and is an important win for the Melbourne-based manufacturer in the current depressed economic climate brought on by the global coronavirus pandemic, which has forced APV to take swift action to shore up its own international supply lines. 


The deal was secured through the company’s connection with BAE Systems Australia’s global supply chain program, and will extend APV’s long-running involvement in providing restraints for Australian and North American military vehicles, which dates back to 2002. 


BAE Systems said the military seatbelts will be used in a variety of vehicles, including the amphibious combat vehicle (ACV) program for the US Marines and armoured multi-purpose vehicle (AMPV) program for the US Army that replaces the M113 armoured personnel carrier.


The global defence industry giant said these programs represent “two of the most important and technologically advanced armoured and protected vehicle programs underway for the US Forces”.


“Through our global business, we are opening the door to a global supply chain worth around $A17 billion, introducing local SMEs to new markets and opportunities,” said BAE Systems Australia chief executive Gabby Costigan.


“We have a wealth of world-leading industrial suppliers in Australia and we see it as our duty to support them to achieve success through exports.


“APV is a fantastic example of this, and with its involvement in this program we will continue to provide the highest level of protection within our company’s military vehicles.”


APV managing director Harry Hickling told GoAuto that the contract marked a “great success story” for the collaboration between BAE and APV, as well as support from Australia’s defence department.


BAE Systems is one of eight Australian defence companies who are part of a global supply chain program delivered by the federal Centre for Defence Industry Capability (CDIC).


“We have now executed a long-term supply agreement for the next three years for delivery of seatbelts into their production facilities in the US,” Mr Hickling said.


“We have been working with BAE Systems in the US since 2015 and are sitting on their supplier scorecard with 100 per cent quality and 99.8 per cent delivery track.


“As we know from our automotive days, delivery and quality track record are prerequisites for export capability and being a trusted supplier within global supply chains.


“APV is now achieving 24-hour shipment on high-volume automotive aftermarket seatbelts and shipping OEM seatbelts internationally.”


Mr Hickling said APV’s position as a globally recognised defence supplier represented its continued success since undertaking a massive reorientation of its business, the viability of which previously hinged on the fortunes of the Australian domestic car manufacturing industry. 


“This has been part of a tremendous and exciting business transformation from 2004 as a Tier 1 supplier to Ford, Holden, Mitsubishi and Toyota, weathering the 2008 GFC, the subsequent decline of auto and then aggressively transforming and diversifying the business,” he said.


“We now have international brand recognition with exports around the world and we dominate the Australian and New Zealand seatbelt markets across automotive aftermarket, bus and coach, defence and industrial markets.


“APV Engineering and Testing services has also continued to grow and diversify as Australia’s most advanced industrial test facility of its type and continuing to support our Australian automotive and transport industry.


“We are looking forward to a progressive recovery post the COVID-19 pandemic and continuing to implement new local and export production lines to increase capacity during this time, as well as significant new product development programs.


“It is exciting times and has been a tremendous journey.”


Mr Hickling said APV’s Safety Products division has supplied military restraints for a wide variety of vehicles over the years, including the Australian Bushmaster and US MaxxPro MRAP (Mine Resistant Ambush Protected) vehicles during the Afghanistan conflict “where there was no loss of life of personnel wearing APV restraints within these vehicles”.

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