The Australian government has selected South Korean firm Hanwha Defense to produce its new infantry fighting vehicles (IFVs) for up to 7 billion Australian dollars ($4.7 billion).
Part of the country’s LAND 400 Phase 3 program, the deal is one of the largest in the history of the Australian Army.
More than 120 IFVs will be handed over to the service to replace its M113 armored personnel carriers, in service since the mid-1960s.
According to Australian Defense Minister Pat Conroy, the government is accelerating the acquisition of the fighting vehicles to respond to Australia’s changing strategic environment.
Deliveries of the new IFVs will occur between early 2027 and late 2028 – two years earlier than planned.
The platforms are expected to provide the Australian Army with improved support in close combat operations.
When Canberra solicited potential IFV proposals from industry partners in 2018, the South Korean company immediately pitched its Redback vehicles.
The Redback provides a high level of protection thanks to its latest-generation armor.
It also features a high-powered cannon and missiles to support combat missions.
The new IFVs will be produced in Australia and the contract is expected to provide thousands of high-skilled jobs to Australian workers.
Australia’s selection of Hanwha’s Redback IFV means that the other tenderer, German automotive manufacturer Rheinmetall, is no longer part of the LAND 400 Phase 3 program.
Hanwha and Rheinmetall had previously been declared the only companies to offer IFVs that meet the requirements of the Australian armed forces.
Rheinmetall proposed its Lynx combat vehicles equipped with active, passive, and reactive systems to protect against rocket-propelled grenades and anti-tank guided missiles.
The Lynx is also armed with the next-generation Lance 2.0 turret and the new Wotan 35 electrically-driven cannon.