Braking manufacturer Advanced Braking Technology (ASX: ABV) has struck a technology licence agreement with high-tech supplier VEEM (ASX: VEE) that will see VEEM manufacturing ABT’s specialised park brake mechanism and supplying it to French defence giant Thales, for eventual integration into the new generation of Hawkei Protected Mobility Vehicle (PMV) light vehicles.
The phased deal is worth a total of $760,000 to ABT and will expire the earlier of 29 April 2022 or the date VEEM sells 1,100 braking mechanism units.
“The collaboration between ABT and Thales during the design and development phase has achieved an outstanding result and demonstrates that ABT has the engineering capability to meet the stringent defence standards required for a project of this nature,” ABT chief executive officer John Annand said.
“ABT looks forward to continuing the relationships developed with both Thales and VEEM well into the future,” he added.
Looking closely at Hawkei
The Hawkei PMV is a light four-wheel drive PMV originally designed to meet an Australian Defence Force (ADF) requirement for a light armoured patrol vehicle to replace some of its Land Rover Perentie variants.
Currently, the Hawkei vehicle serves as a highly mobile, highly protected, 7-tonne vehicle, with in-built systems and warfare capability. However, Thales has been working on a “light” version for less rugged and more humanitarian use.
Thales is a French aerospace and defence sector manufacturer that supplies multiple organisations.
In May last year, Thales selected ABT to provide brake-related design, prototype development and testing services to assist in delivering 1,100 Hawkei PMV-L vehicles as part of the LAND 121 project.
The two companies agreed to a two-phase project with phase one tasking ABT with successfully designing and testing a brake prototype, and phase two opening the door to a tendering process to deliver 1,100 specialised hill-hold park brake mechanisms.
Within months, ABT had developed a design and successfully tested a prototype.
Over the past year, the company has been liaising with Thales to determine how the company was best placed to participate in the manufacture and supply phase: with today’s technology licence agreement, considered by both parties, to be the optimal avenue to mass production because it “protects its intellectual property and provides the best risk and return outcome”.
According to ABT, the deal also achieves the “strategic objective” of diversifying its customer base and the industries into which it supplies its braking designs.
Importantly, the staged licence deal provides ABT with a competitive advantage to offer its customised design solution services to other international specialised fleet providers.
If adequately harnessed, the move would allow ABT to be recognised as a fully-fledged original equipment manufacturer (OEM) product designer, which is likely to spur further custom-build opportunities, specifically in international fleets including vehicles used in military applications, humanitarian support and emergency services.
“This is a great example of Australian design and engineering excellence from an SME adding capability to what is already a world-class Australian designed and manufactured military vehicle,” Thales Australia chief executive officer Chris Jenkins said.
Shares in ABT shares ran to $0.135 from their previous close of only $0.025, before settling around $0.04 at noon.