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Hanwha’s Redback wins Land 400 Ph.3

The Australian Government has selected Hanwha Defense Australia as the preferred tenderer to deliver 129 Infantry Fighting Vehicles (IFV) to the Australian Army, as part of a major transformation of the Army in response to Australia’s changing strategic environment.

The company’s AS-21 Redback IFV will be acquired under Project LAND 400 Ph.3 project with a value of between $5 billion and $7 billion, making it one of the largest capability acquisition projects in the history of the Army. The new IFVs will provide high level protection and mobility for soldiers and replace Defence’s M113 armoured personnel carriers which were acquired in 1964. Details of who will manufacture the turret haven’t been disclosed as yet.

The company is already manufacturing 39 AS-9 self-propelled howitzers and 15 AS-10 armoured ammunition resupply vehicles to the Australian Army.

“The selection of the Redback for the Australian Army is an exciting milestone not just for soldiers, who will have an IFV that was specifically designed and built for them, it also cements the closer ties between Australia and the Republic of Korea,” said HDW managing director Richard Cho.

“The Redback is … one of the safest and most lethal platform soldiers can use,” Cho said. “The Iron Vision system that allows the Redback’s crew to effectively look through the hull of the vehicle as though it isn’t there is an absolute game changer when it comes to operating heavy armoured vehicles in close company with dismounted troops.”

“Hanwha’s selection as preferred tenderer for the Land 400 Phase 3 project has major implications for Korea-Australia defence and economic cooperation,” said Mr Son Jaeil, President and CEO of HDA’s parent company, Hanwha Aerospace.

Hanwha Defense Australia’s bid defeated that by Rheinmetall Defence Australia based on the KF-41 Lynx.

“There was two years of extensive testing and evaluation of both shortlisted tenderers, and it was Defence’s recommendation that the Hanwha Redback vehicle best met Australia’s requirements,” said Minister for Defence Industry Pat Conroy at the announcement.

“The government is delivering three critical new capabilities over the next five years,” he added. “These new capabilities are: infantry fighting vehicles to provide soldiers with high-level protection, mobility and firepower; landing craft to provide Army with the ability to manoeuvre in the coastal environments of Australia and the region; and long-range fires in the form of new HIMARS rocket systems; and land-based maritime strike to provide army with the ability to strike over an extended range.

“These interlocking capabilities will modernise the Australian Army to operate in a coastal or littoral environment. They will place army at the heart of our strategy of deterrence through denial, and they will enhance army’s ability to defend Australia in the face of contemporary challenges. “

When it fields HIMARS the Australian Army’s strike range will increase from roughly 40km to 300km and then, with the Precision Strike Missile (PriSM) which it is co-developing with the USA, over 500km.

The new vehicles, along with the AS-9s and AS-10s, will be built in Australia at Hanwha’s Armoured Vehicle Centre of Excellence which is currently being built adjacent to Avalon Airport, Geelong.

“This represented the best value for money due to the compelling strategic advantages and the economic benefits to the nation,” said Conroy. “To maintain our national security we need to be able to build critical defence capabilities here rather than relying on overseas supply chains.”

The Government is accelerating this acquisition so that the first vehicle will be delivered in early 2027, two years earlier than originally planned. The final vehicle will be delivered by late 2028.

The Army’s original requirement was for 450 IFVs; this was reduced first to around 300 and then the two contenders were asked to re-price their bids for just 129 vehicles. This reflects the Defence Strategic Review’s assessment that 129 IFVs is the appropriate number for Australia’s future strategic environment.

Defence will now enter negotiations with HDA and return to Government for final approval before the contract is finalised.

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