Rheinmetall confirmed the signing of the Risk Mitigation Activity (RMA) contract with the Commonwealth of Australia for participation in the RMA, including the delivery of three Lynx KF41 Infantry Fighting Vehicles (IFVs) to compete in trials for the AUD 15 billion (EUR 9.5 billion) LAND 400 Phase 3 program.
The RMA contract now signed has a value of AUD 50 million (about EUR 30 million), said a Rheinmetall statement.
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).
The RMA contract is also awarded to Hanwha Defense Australia, the Australian subsidiary of South Korea’s Hanwha Group. Hanwha is offering AS21 Redback IFV for the program. AS21 Redback is a variant of K21 IFV originally developed for the South Korean Army.
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.
Under the LAND 400 Phase 3 RMA contract, the Commonwealth will undertake an extensive technical and programmatic assessment of the two bidders over a period of 24 months. The vehicles will be operated by Australian Army personnel and tested in Australian terrain under extreme conditions, undertaking lethality, transportability, mobility, troop assessments, blast, and ballistic testing. In parallel, the Commonwealth will work with the two bidders in a structured assessment phase in order to optimize technical capability, growth, value for money and national prosperity.
The new vehicles are expected to enter into service by the mid-2020s.
Lynx KF41 for Australia
According to Rheinmetall, Lynx KF41 is a next-generation tracked, networked and highly protected IFV which meets the stringent military requirements of LAND 400 Phase 3, and offers a platform with significant growth potential.
Rheinmetall Defence Australia Managing Director Gary Stewart said the three vehicles designated for RMA trials in Australia would incorporate significant Australian Industry Capability.
“Development, integration and test of the Lynx KF41 vehicles will also take place during RMA at Rheinmetall’s new Military Vehicle Centre of Excellence (MILVEHCOE) in Australia from next year in support of the RMA trials,” Mr. Stewart said.
Key vehicle elements of the Lynx KF41 are also being developed and manufactured in Australia by local companies including the alternator (Milspec in Albury), running gear (Supashock in Adelaide) and cables (Cablex in Melbourne).
Rheinmetall is currently delivering 211 Boxer 8×8 Combat Reconnaissance Vehicles (CRV) to the Australian Army after the vehicle was selected by the Australian Government following 12 months of RMA trials in 2016-2017.
The modular Lynx KF41 vehicle includes the digital Lance turret with electronic architecture common with the Boxer 8×8 CRV. This will enable the Australian crew to access sensor systems, advanced automatic tracking & targeting capabilities and weapon-integrated battle management all in one connected and enabled platform.
“Should Rheinmetall secure a contract to deliver LAND 400 Phase 3, the Lynx KF41 fleet will be manufactured at the MILVEHCOE, located at Redbank and south west of Brisbane,” Mr. Stewart said.
Rheinmetall is already delivering an Australian Industry Network for LAND 400 that builds an industrial capability in Australia. This includes creating high technology enduring jobs for hundreds of Australians by localizing design and manufacturing expertise in electro-optics, weapon systems, fire control and sensor systems, turret manufacturing, variant design and manufacture, integration, armor systems, simulation, training, and fleet sustainment.