Australia signs contract with Hanwha for 129 AS21 Redback IFVs


The AS21 Redback. Photo c/o Australian DOD.

The Australian Department of Defence has confirmed on 08 December 2023 that it signed a contract with South Korean defense company Hanwha Defense Australia for the manufacture and delivery of 129 units of its AS21 Redback tracked infantry fighting vehicle for the Australian Army.

The total value of the project is around A$7 billion (US$4.7 billion), with the vehicles to be manufactured locally at Hanwha Defense Australia’s facility in Avalon, Greater Geelong, Victoria, which will contribute in creating opportunities for Australian businesses and workers..

This is considered the single largest project for the Australian Army in terms of cost, with the actual procurement and initial support contracts worth around A$4.5 billion (US$3.03 billion).

The first Redback IFV is expected to be delivered to the Australian Department of Defence by 2027, or 2 years earlier than previously predicted. The last vehicle is expected to be delivered by late 2028.

The Australian Army’s LAND 400 Phase 3 Project was previously slated to deliver 450 units to replace its ageing M113AS4 armored personnel carriers, but was pushed back to just 129 units after the 2023 Australian Defence Strategic Roadmap has given more priority for the Australian Army to acquire long range fires and missile systems to counter threats from China.

 The AS21 Redback IFV is an Australian-specific derivative of the proven K21 infantry fighting vehicle used by the Republic of Korea Army, with several changes to meet Australian requirements.

This includes the use of armouring from Plasan, propulsion from a MTU America MT881 Ka-500 diesel engine paired with an Allison transmission, use of the Australian-designed EOS T-2000 turret derived from Elbit System’s MT30 Mk. 2, armed with a ATK Mark 44S Bushmaster II 30mm autocannon, with mount for two Rafael Spike LR2 anti-tank guided missile system, an EOS R400 remote weapon station and a co-axial mounted FN Herstal MAG58 7.62mm general purpose machine guns. 

The AS21 Redback is also equipped with Elbit Systems’ Iron Fist active protection system and Iron Vision sighting system that allows for 360 degree view for improved situational awareness.

[1] Australian Department of Defence

[2] Australian Defence Magazine

Australia signs contract with Hanwha for 129 AS21 Redback IFVs Australia signs contract with Hanwha for 129 AS21 Redback IFVs Reviewed by Asia Pacific Defense Journal on December 19, 2023 Rating: 5

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