Australian Department of Defence has signed contracts with Hanwha Defense Australia and Rheinmetall Defence Australia in support of the LAND 400 Phase 3 Infantry Fighting Vehicle (IFV) procurement program.
The two companies were earlier selected to progress to the next stage of LAND 400 Phase 3, under the Morrison Government’s multi-billion-dollar upgrade to the Australian Army’s mounted close combat capability. According to the new contracts, the companies will participate in risk mitigation as part of the project to acquire new IFVs.
Minister for Defence Linda Reynolds said the signing of the contracts brings Army a step closer to having world-class Infantry Fighting Vehicle capability.
“This program is a significant investment in Army’s capability – it will make our personnel safer, more effective on operations, and will complement our investment in Boxer Combat Reconnaissance Vehicles under LAND400 Phase 2,” Minister Reynolds said.
The Risk Mitigation Activity phase will occur over the next two years, allowing both companies to engage with the Defence Department, as well as clarify, refine and negotiate their tenders. The vehicles will undertake a test and evaluation program including destructive testing at sites across Australia.
A decision on the preferred tenderer to supply the Phase 3 capability will be presented to the Government for consideration in 2022.
Minister for Defence Industry Melissa Price encouraged Australian industry to get behind this project.
“Australian industry involvement and Australian workers will be critically important,” Minister Price said. “Defence will work with the shortlisted tenderers to ensure small and medium enterprises across Australia have the opportunity to showcase their capabilities.”
LAND 400 Phase 3
The LAND 400 Phase 3 Mounted Close Combat Capability Program will replace the Australian Army’s current fleet of M113 Armoured Personnel Carriers (APCs) with up to 450 modern Infantry Fighting Vehicles (IFV) and 17 Manoeuvre Support Vehicles (MSV).
By the project, Australia is seeking an IFV, with high levels of protection, lethality, and mobility, and is capable of lifting a standard infantry battalion section (minimum of 6 dismounts). The tactical maneuverability characteristics of the vehicle are to be similar to the Australian Army M1 Abrams Main Battle Tank (MBT) fleet to enable combined arms maneuver.
South Korea’s Hanwha Defense is offering AS21 Redback IFV for the program while Germany’s Rheinmetall Defence is offering Lynx KF41 IFV. AS21 Redback is a variant of K21 IFV originally developed for the South Korean Army and Lynx KF41 is the latest variant of Lynx armored fighting vehicle (AFV) developed by Rheinmetall.
The companies defeated proposals by USA’s General Dynamics Land Systems (GLS) offering AJAX AFV, and UK/Sweden’s BAE Systems Hägglunds offering CV90 IFV.
The new vehicles are expected to enter into service by the mid-2020s.