Thursday, August 3, 2023

South Korea’s Hanwha Defence wins Australian IFV competition


The AS21 Redback IFV during trials in Australia. Photo c/o Australian DOD.

The Australian Government announced that it has selected an offer from South Korean defense company Hanwha Defence  Australia for the supply of Infantry Fighting Vehicles (IFV) for the Australian Army under the LAND 400 Phase 3 project.

The offer involves the local manufacture and delivery of 129 units of AS21 Redback infantry fighting vehicle, which will be built in Hanwha’s existing facility in Geelong, Victoria.

Hanwha Defence Australia competed against another shortlisted company, Germany’s Rheinmetall Defence Australia which offered its KF41 Lynx IFV. The selection of the AS21 Redback is a milestone for the South Korean company, as this marks the first export market for its armored vehicle derived from the K21 tracked IFV.

Hanwha Defence Australia is expected to deliver the first vehicle by early 2027, with the final vehicle delivered by late 2028.

The LAND 400 Phase 3 project originally involved the acquisition of more than 400 IFVs for the Australian Army to replace its ageing fleet of M113 tracked armored personnel carriers, but this was reduced to its current quantity as part of the Australian Department of Defence Strategic Review in 2023, where the Australian Army will be transformed to perform littoral manoeuvre operations.

The Australian Department of Defence will be finalising the deal with Hanwha Defence Australia before a final approval and contract can be realised.

The AS21 Redback was derived from the K21 tracked IFV used by the Republic of Korea Army, and was tailored to suit the requirements of the Australian Army. This includes an improved armor, the use of a 30mm Bushmaster autocannon, inclusion of a missile launcher for Israeli-made Spike LR anti-tank missile, and use of one-piece rubber tracks.

[1] Australian Department of Defence

[2] European Security and Defence

[3] Defence Connect

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