Six prototype test and evaluation vehicles from Hanwha and Rheinmetall’s respective bids for the LAND 400 Phase 3 program have been delivered to Defence.
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The federal government has confirmed its receipt of six prototype test and evaluation vehicles from Hanwha Defense Australia and Rheinmetall Defence Australia — the two firms competing for the $18.1-$27.1 billion LAND 400 Phase 3 program, which aims to provide the Army with enhanced infantry fighting vehicle (IFV) capability.
The firms have each delivered three prototypes, two for test and evaluation activities and one for blast testing – as part of the two-year Risk Mitigation Activity.
The Risk Mitigation Activity will involve detailed testing and evaluation of the tendered vehicles in an effort to provide Defence with sufficient evidence to inform a government decision in 2022.
Minister for Defence Linda Reynolds said the delivery of the prototype vehicles would allow Defence to assess the shortlisted tenderers’ performance claims focusing on the highest areas of technical risk.
“These significant activities include Australian soldiers participating in user evaluation and testing, with a particular focus on the armour, firepower and mobility of the platforms,” Minister Reynolds said.
“The Risk Mitigation Activity will undertake important analysis on each vehicle’s ability to integrate with other key ADF land, sea and air capabilities, including amphibious lift.
“The infantry fighting vehicle will be a state-of-the-art tracked armoured vehicle, capable of carrying six soldiers in addition to a crew of three. These advanced vehicles will provide increased protection, mobility, and firepower for the ADF.”
As part of the program, Defence is set to procure IFVs and a manoeuvre support vehicle capability comprising up to 17 vehicles.
“When delivered, the infantry fighting vehicle will allow Army to successfully sustain mounted close combat operations against emerging and future threats as part of the joint force,” Minister Reynolds added.
Queensland Premier backs Rheinmetall bid
Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has announced the signing of a memorandum of understanding with Rheinmetall Defence Australia, which renews a long-term partnership focused on securing the firm's bid for the LAND 400 Phase 3 contract.
The Premier visited Rheinmetall's Military Vehicle Centre of Excellence (MILVEHCOE) along with members of her cabinet, noting the potential job opportunities created if the bid is successful.
“Rheinmetall estimates the Phase 3 project could create an additional 500 jobs in addition to the 450 highly skilled positions being brought to Queensland through their Phase 2 win,” the Premier said.
Deputy Premier and Minister for State Development Steven Miles also lauded the benefits of Rheinmetall’s MILVEHCOE, which he said would be be fully operational ahead of the federal government's decision.
“The government’s strong support of this project is part of our economic recovery plan, to support projects and companies like Rheinmetall that create jobs and employ hundreds of Queenslanders," he said.
Treasurer and Minister for Investment Cameron Dick added, “Put simply, there is no better place to manufacture the vehicles for LAND 400 Phase 3 than Queensland and Rheinmetall presents the lowest risk to the Commonwealth in what is a very significant Defence procurement.”
Rheinmetall Defence Australia managing director Gary Stewart noted the benefits of partnering with the Queensland government.
“Every Rheinmetall employee understands that equipping the ADF with the most advanced combat and logistics capabilities is our primary objective,” Stewart said.
“It is what drives us and why we partnered with the Queensland government to establish MILVEHCOE as a sovereign industrial manufacturing base for Australia.
“Rheinmetall is also recruiting and skilling as we move into the commissioning phase of the MILVEHCOE. Queenslanders are living in Germany designing and building Boxer vehicles so they can step into senior roles on their return to Brisbane over the next two years.”
Rheinmetall also has a memorandum of understanding with TAFE Queensland, which is currently delivering skills development programs to support Rheinmetall’s projects.
[Related: Hanwha launches Redback IFV in Australia]