Defence Minister Linda Reynolds and Defence Industry Minister Melissa Price have officially confirmed the two down-select contenders for the Australian Army’s multibillion LAND 400 Phase 3 program.
Defence Connect can tonight (16 September) confirm the selection of Hanwha Defense Australia and Rheinmetall Defence Australia as the two successful contenders for the Army’s investment to change its current fleet of mobility and reconnaissance vehicles.
The LAND 400 Phase 3 program will replace the M113 Armoured Personnel Carriers, providing the Army with an advanced, world-class Infantry Fighting Vehicle (IFV) capability.
Both options will provide the Army with a range of capabilities:
- Hanwha Defense Systems AS21 Redback: The AS21 will include the capability to integrate active protection systems into an evolved turret system. The Redback will be capable of hosting a crew of 11 (three crew, eight troops), a top road speed of 70km/h, cross country speed of 40km/h, an operational range of 500 kilometres, with an armament consisting of a 40mm autocannon and a single 7.62mm coaxial machine gun.
- Rheinmetall Lynx KF-41: The Lynx KF41 will include the capability to support a crew of 12 (three crew, up to nine troops), have a max road speed of 70km/h, a road range of more than 500 kilometres, with an armament consisting of the Lance 2.0 30-35mm autocannon, a 7.62mm coaxial machine gun and a variety of additional close-in weapons systems.
Defence Minister Linda Reynolds said: “These advanced vehicles will provide new levels of protection, firepower, mobility and enhanced communications. This project will deliver Australia a brand-new, cutting-edge capability. But we will also ensure we are well placed to work together with industry, to grow and develop the capability over the course of its life.”
“When fully delivered, the LAND 400 program will allow Army to successfully sustain mounted close combat operations against emerging and future threats, as part of an integrated Australian Defence Force. I thank all tenderers for their significant effort and the resources invested in supporting Phase 3 of this project,” she said.
Defence Industry Minister Melissa Price welcomed the announcement and stressed the importance of Australian Industry Content in the multibillion recapitalisation effort, saying the program provides an exciting opportunity for Australian industry to contribute to building and maintaining the new IFVs.
“Just as with the Phase 2 Combat Reconnaissance Vehicles, Australian industry involvement and Australian workers are vital to this project.”
“Phase 3 is another important opportunity for Australian industry to deliver leading-edge technology for our Australian Defence Force,” Minister Price said.
According to Minister Price, during the testing phase, Defence will work with the shortlisted tenderers to ensure small and medium enterprises across Australia have the opportunity to showcase their capabilities.
“The two companies have been assessed as offering vehicles that are best able to meet the requirements of the Army while providing value for money for Defence,” she said.
“However, if at any stage of this process there is a need, Defence can invite other tenderers to participate in the shortlist – to make sure we deliver the capability we need to the Army and the best value for the Australian taxpayer,” she added.
Hanwha responds with humility
Successful contender Hanwha Defense Australia (HDA) welcomed the government’s announcement, saying, “The recent announcement of HDA being successfully selected to attend the competitive LAND 400 Phase 3 RMA is a humbling one and a great responsibility; HDA will strive to deliver a capability worthy of the Australian Army.”
Hanwha took the opportunity to reinforce the capability the AS21 Redback will bring to the Australian Army, saying, “The Redback IFV technologies originate from countries where capabilities are needed to defeat constant real-world threats. Our approach to service is further augmented by the fact that many of the Hanwha team have family members who have served or are currently serving in our various vehicle technologies. It is with this in mind that we will approach our delivery to the Australian Army during the RMA period.
“The Redback IFV is a fifth-generation combat vehicle for the Royal Australian Infantry characterised around a design to fight and win against peer competitors. The Redback is a vehicle which has been purpose-built to meet the requirements for the Australian user. Recognising that the solider system lies at the heart of this vehicle, the Redback has integrated active protection systems, comfortable space for eight Australian Infantry dismounts, rubber tracks to improve ride quality, and significant additional growth margins to accommodate additional upgrades and as much kit as the Infantry soldier requires,” Hanwha’s statement highlighted.
Finally, Hanwha reinforced its commitment to supporting the Australian Army’s LAND 8116 Protected Mobile Fires Program, providing the latest variant of the K9, to be called the “Huntsman” in Australian service and to be assembled in Geelong.
“Integrating our production facility to manufacture both Redback IFV and Huntsman SPH will result in cost and schedule efficiencies for the Commonwealth, noting that both platforms share commonality. Hanwha and the Redback Team stand ready to bring the world’s newest IFV to Australian shores in 2020,” Hanwha stated.
Rheinmetall spruiks it's Lynx
Not to be outdone, Rheinmetall also welcomed the announcement of its successful down-select, with the release stating: "Lynx KF41 is a next generation tracked, networked and highly protected IFV which meets the stringent military requirements of LAND 400 Phase 3. The Australian Army needs a networked, protected and enabled IFV for close combat - to close in and defeat an enemy in the most dangerous and lethal environments for Australian soldiers."
Rheinmetall will deliver three Lynx IFVs to compete in RMA trials to be conducted in Australia. If successful, the Lynx IFV fleet will be manufactured in Queensland at Rheinmetall’s new Military Vehicle Centre of Excellence at Redbank south west of Brisbane.
"We welcome the Commonwealth’s decision to select Lynx KF41 for the RMA trials and look forward to demonstrating the capability of our next generation infantry fighting vehicle," explained, Rheinmetall Defence Australia Managing Director, Gary Stewart.
Mr Stewart added, "We believe Lynx is the best vehicle in its class for Australian needs and it sets new standards in protection, mobility, lethality and knowledge needed to survive and defeat any adversary. Rheinmetall has developed this vehicle so it is positioned at an ideal level of maturity when Australia needs it to enter service in 2026 - and it has the inherent growth capacity and a growth path to extend these capabilities through its 40+ year life."
LAND 400 Phase 3 is a $10 billion-$15 billion program, which will recapitalise the Army’s Vietnam-era M113 Armoured Personnel Carrier (APC) force, with a combination of a tracked IFV and tracked APC.
The Risk Mitigation Activity will commence later this year. Following its completion, Defence will undertake a final detailed evaluation of the shortlisted tenders.
A decision on the preferred tenderer to supply the Phase 3 capability will be presented to government for consideration in 2022.