Rheinmetall announced the official handover of three HaX 8x8 Heavy Recovery Vehicles to the New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) at an official ceremony on November 25th 2021 at the Trentham Military Camp in Wellington, New Zealand.
Colonel Ben Bagley, Director of Land Domain for NZDF attended the ceremony to accept handover of the vehicles from Marty Roelofs, New Zealand Manager at Rheinmetall.
Mr Gary Stewart, Managing Director Rheinmetall Defence Australia, had planned to personally attend this ceremony to mark its importance however was hampered by COVID travel restrictions.
“Although it is very disappointing not to be back in New Zealand for this important event marking the joint achievement of the handover of the HX 8x8 Heavy Recovery Vehicles, we are still very proud of this milestone,” Mr. Stewart said.
“The HX 8x8 Heavy Recovery Vehicle is another example of our commitment to providing sustainable design, development and manufacturing that delivers world leading products and services to the NZDF.”
“Delivery of this enhanced recovery capability, complementing the already delivered Medium-heavy Operational Vehicles fleet, in the midst of global COVID challenges is a testament to the relationship between Rheinmetall and the NZDF.”
The successful delivery of the vehicles to the NZDF provides the New Zealand Army with important new capabilities, with the HX 8x8 Heavy Recovery Vehicles having enhanced recovery and mobility capabilities specifically developed to meet the current and future operational needs of the NZDF.
The purchase of the HX 8x8 adds to the in-service medium and heavy operational vehicle fleet with NZDF. The Medium-heavy Operational Vehicles (MHOV) fleet which was supplied by Rheinmetall has had significant use already with NZDF, in training, operations and disaster relief both in New Zealand and offshore.
The HX 8x8 Heavy Recovery Vehicles delivered to the NZDF are the first in the world to use the Integrated Armoured Swap Cabin which allows easy configuration of the vehicles to suit the operational need. Rheinmetall will also provide a dedicated training team to conduct initial training on the vehicle with the NZDF.
At just 2.55 metres wide, the HX 8x8 Heavy Recovery Vehicle allows greater accessibility and operates exceptionally in difficult terrain with an ability to cross ditches of 1.4 metres wide and cross flooded areas of 1.5 metres in depth, as well as scale gradients of up to 60 per cent and side slopes of 30 per cent.
The HX 8x8 Heavy Recovery Vehicle is also able to operate in a range of radically different environments, operating in cold conditions as low as -32°C and in hot conditions all the way up to 49°C.