Two contenders for the largest acquisition project in the history of the Australian Army have been officially unveiled in Canberra. The two shortlisted tenderers for the A$18.1 – A$27.1 billion LAND 400 Phase 3 project are Rheinmetall Defence Australia, offering its KF-41 Lynx, and Hanwha Defense Australia, with its Redback. The new Infantry Fighting Vehicles prototypes are currently under evaluation, and once delivered, the project will provide the Army with an advanced, cutting-edge mounted close combat capability. A decision on the preferred tenderer will be presented to government for consideration in 2022. The Infantry Fighting Vehicles will replace the current M113 Armoured Personnel Carriers that have been in service since the mid-1960s.
Acting Minister for Defence Marise Payne said the government is acquiring up to 450 Infantry Fighting Vehicles. “These next generation infantry fighting vehicles will provide Australian soldiers with higher levels of protection, mobility, firepower and connectivity. They will give our troops the best possible opportunity to successfully complete their mission safely. This project is part of the Morrison government’s unprecedented A$270 billion investment in defence capability over the next decade, which will protect our national and strategic interests for years to come.”
If successful, both companies have proposed to build the vehicles in Australia, with substantial investment in Australian industry capability, supporting Australian jobs, talent and technology. Attending the official unveiling in Canberra, a former Army major general, Senator Jim Molan, said Defence was seeking a tracked infantry fighting vehicle, capable of accommodating six soldiers in addition to a crew of three. “Hanwha Defense Australia and Rheinmetall Defence Australia have each delivered three prototype vehicles which will be tested over the course of this year, as part of a two-year risk mitigation activity,” Molan said. “These activities include Australian soldiers participating in user evaluation and testing, with a particular focus on the armour, firepower and mobility of the platforms.”