Hanwha Aerospace Co. has moved closer to securing an Australian armored vehicle supply contract, as the South Korean defense manufacturer has been selected as the preferred bidder for the multi-billion-dollar project.
Hanwha Aerospace secured the armored vehicle contract under the long-running Land 400 Phase 3 project, as the Redback’s performance was rated higher than Lynx, outperforming Rheinmetall’s bid. This decision comes after nearly five years since Defence issued its Land 400 Phase 3 (Mounted Combat Capability) Request for Tender.
In announcing Hanwha as the preferred tenderer to supply the new IFVs, the Australian government also disclosed a significant reduction in the fleet size, scaling down from the initially planned 450 vehicles to just 129, which marks a decrease of nearly 75 percent in the fleet size.
The LAND 400 Phase 3 project, is valued between $5 billion ( $3.4 billion USD) and $7 billion ( $4.8 billion USD) and stands as one of the Australian Army’s largest acquisition initiatives to date. Moreover, the vehicles will be locally manufactured at Hanwha’s facilities in the Geelong region.
The Australian Defense will now enter negotiations with the preferred tenderer to finalize the ultimate contract cost, seeking the government’s final approval before concluding the contract. These vehicles will replace the aging M113 armored personnel carriers, which were initially acquired in 1964.
The Redback, weighing 42 tons, is classified as a heavy IFV. Developed in cooperation with Plasan, its hull and turret provide protection from 30mm armor-piercing rounds. Though developers claim, the vehicle is engineered to withstand mine blasts and improvised explosive devices, withstanding blasts equivalent to 10 kg of TNT anywhere under the hull or tracks.
The Redback is equipped with the capability to utilize advanced munitions, including programmable airburst munitions and proximity fused rounds, facilitated by a fuse setter for the 30mm cannon.
The vehicle’s armament includes a coaxial 7.62mm machine gun and a remotely-controlled weapon station. The Redback can be armed with various options, such as a 12.7mm heavy machine gun, a 7.62mm general-purpose machine gun, or a 40mm automatic grenade launcher. Moreover, it incorporates a launcher that can carry two Spike LR2 anti-tank guided missiles, providing a range of 5.5 kilometers.
The Redback boasts an array of sensors, including the Iron Vision situational awareness system, which enables the crew to have a unique advantage through a helmet-slaved system that allows them to see through the armor.
“We are also committed to supporting Australian defense industry so we can make more of the critical defense equipment we need in this country rather than relying on overseas suppliers,” said Minister for Defense Industry, Pat Conroy.
“I would like to thank both Hanwha Defense Australia and Rheinmetall Defence Australia for their highly professional participation in the extensive and thorough process of selecting Australia’s new infantry fighting vehicle,” he added.
The government is aiming to deliver the first Redback IFV by early 2027. The final vehicle is set to be delivered by late 2028. This procurement aligns with the simultaneous delivery of new HIMARS missile systems and Army Landing Craft for the Australian Army.