Hanwha Defense Australia and Rheinmetall Defence Australia was invited by the Australian Government to participate in the next stage of evaluation of the multi-billion dollar LAND 400 Phase 3 Infantry Fighting Vehicle (IFV) procurement program.
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).
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 armoured fighting vehicle developed by Rheinmetall.
The companies defeated proposals by USA’s General Dynamics Land Systems (GLS) offering AJAX armoured fighting vehicle (AFV), and UK/Sweden’s BAE Systems Hägglunds offering CV90 IFV.
The Risk Mitigation Activity for the project will commence later this year an following its completion, Australian Department of Defence will undertake a final detailed evaluation of the shortlisted tenders. A decision on the preferred tenderer to supply the Phase 3 capability will be presented to Government for consideration in 2022.
Minister for Defence Linda Reynolds said the Morrison Government is investing in the best possible capability to meet the current and emerging threats of our changing geostrategic environment.
“These advanced vehicles will provide new levels of protection, firepower, mobility and enhanced communications,” Minister Reynolds said.
“This project will deliver Australia a brand-new, cutting edge capability. But we will also ensure we are well placed to work together with industry, to grow and develop the capability over the course of its life. When fully delivered the LAND 400 Program will allow Army to successfully sustain mounted close combat operations against emerging and future threats, as part of an integrated Australian Defence Force. I thank all tenderers for their significant effort and the resources invested in supporting Phase 3 of this project.”
Minister for Defence Industry Melissa Price said the LAND 400 Phase 3 program provides an exciting opportunity for Australian industry to contribute to building and maintaining these new Infantry Fighting Vehicles.
“Just as with the Phase 2 Combat Reconnaissance Vehicles, Australian industry involvement and Australian workers are vital to this project,” Minister Price said.
“Phase 3 is another important opportunity for Australian industry to deliver leading edge technology for our Australian Defence Force. During the testing-phase Defence will work with the shortlisted tenderers to ensure small and medium enterprises across Australia have the opportunity to showcase their capabilities. The two companies have been assessed as offering vehicles that are best able to meet the requirements of the Army while providing value for money for Defence.
“However, if at any stage of this process there is a need, Defence can invite other tenderers to participate in the shortlist – to make sure we deliver the capability we need to the Army and the best value for the Australian taxpayer.”
By the LAND 400 Phase 3 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 manoeuvrability characteristics of the vehicle are to be similar to the Australian Army M1 Abrams Main Battle Tank (MBT) fleet to enable combined arms manoeuvre.
The new vehicles are expected to enter into service by the mid-2020s and will provide new levels of protection, firepower, mobility and enhanced communications to the Army that will enable sustained operations, varying from peacekeeping to close combat.