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Australia confirms LAND 400 IFV project decision delay

Australian LAND 400 IFV project decision update
Royal Australian Navy photo of the Hanwha Defense Redback, left, and the Rheinmetall Defence KF-41 Lynx next to HMAS Adelaide at HMAS Kuttabul during the final LAND 400 trial in December 2021

The Australian government said it would be taking time to consider the findings of an ongoing strategic review before making a decision on its multi-billion infantry fighting vehicle project.

South Korea’s Hanwha Defense and German vehicle specialist Rheinmetall Defence showcased their contenders for LAND 400 Phase 3 almost a year ago, when the Australian Army also completed all relevant trials.

A decision on the winner had been expected to be made this year, but according to the country’s defense industry minister Pat Conroy, it will be made only after the final report from the Defence Strategic Review is delivered to the government next year.

Conroy said it is “responsible for the decision on a procurement worth between $18 billion and $27 billion to be informed by the findings of the review.”

“I would like to thank Hanwha Defense Australia, Rheinmetall Defence Australia and the many other companies involved in this tender process for their understanding and professionalism,” Minister Conroy said.

“The government remains focused on Australia’s future defense capability. We don’t want to pre-empt the findings of the Review, which is especially critical given the rapidly changing strategic circumstances facing our nation.”

The LAND 400 project will acquire up to 450 IFVs and a maneuver support vehicle capability comprising up to 17 vehicles.

Hanwha pitched its Redback IFV equipped with an active protection system from Elbit and Plasan’s armor. Redback is armed with an Mk44S Bushmaster II 30mm cannon a co-axially mounted 7.62mm machine gun. The company says it would build the vehicles at its facility in Greater Geelong if it wins the tender.

The Lynx KF41 vehicle offered by Rheinmetall weighs around 40 tons and can carry 3+8 soldiers. Lynx includes the digital Lance turret with electronic architecture common with the Boxer 8×8 CRV the company is already delivering to Australia.