Sea transportability exercises marked an end to the test and evaluation stage of the LAND 400 Phase 3 tender process.
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Rheinmetall Defence Australia’s KF-41 Lynx infantry fighting vehicle (IFV) and Hanwha Defense Australia’s Redback IFV — competing for the LAND 400 Phase 3 contract — completed sea transportability trials on Sydney Harbour as part of the two-year risk mitigation activity.
The vehicles’ interoperability with naval assets was put to the test at HMAS Penguin and Garden Island naval bases, with Royal Australian Navy amphibious landing ship dock HMAS Choules and landing helicopter dock HMAS Adelaide supporting the exercises.
Stakeholders assessed the vehicles’ ability to operate on and off the landing craft and ships, including transfers between Navy assets.
The trials aimed to ensure both the Lynx and Redback IFVs could effectively operate as part of a wider joint force.
“These trials have proven that these vehicles can be moved on a variety of Navy landing craft and ships, which will allow this capability in the future to be deployed by both strategic lift and tactical maritime platforms,” Major General David Coghlan, head of the armoured vehicle division at the Capability Acquisition and Sustainment Group, said.
The sea transportability trials marked the end of the test and evaluation program, designed to inform a final government decision on the $18.1-$27.1 billion contract.
The chosen platform is set to replace the Australian Army’s ageing M113 Armoured Personnel Carrier fleet.
The government is scheduled to announce the award of the contract next year.
Both Rheinmetall and Hanwha have actively engaged with local industry to support their respective bids for the contract.
Rheinmetall recently confirmed it has agreed to build and export the Lynx IFV test chassis to the US, with components expected to be built in the company’s Queensland factory.
This is expected to provide additional design and manufacturing deliverables to the company’s Australian industry network.
[Related: Local firm lands Lynx IFV contract]