Australian Army’s next-generation IFV programme moves ahead with risk mitigation

The Australian Department of Defence’s (DOD’s) LAND 400 Phase 3 programme, which seeks to provide the Australian Army with new tracked infantry fighting vehicles (IFV), has reached a significant milestone with the delivery of six prototype test and evaluation vehicles from the two shortlisted tenderers.

The DoD announced on 13 February that Hanwha Defense Australia and Rheinmetall Defence Australia have each delivered three prototype vehicles – two for test and evaluation activities and one for blast testing – as part of the two-year Risk Mitigation Activity.

Up to 450 IFVs and a Manoeuvre Support Vehicle capability comprising up to 17 vehicles worth between A$18.1 to A$27.1 billion are expected to be acquired under LAND 400 Phase 3, also known as the Mounted Close Combat Capability.

Hanwha and Rheinmetall are offering the Redback IFV and Lynx KF41 IFV, respectively, which will replace the Australian Army’s upgraded but obsolescent M113AS4 armoured personnel carriers (APCs).

Minister for Defence Senator Linda Reynolds said in a statement that the delivery of the prototype vehicles is a vital stage in the programme, enabling the DoD to assess the shortlisted tenderers’ performance claims focusing on the highest areas of technical risk and provide defence planners with objective evidence to inform a government decision in 2022.

“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,” said Minister Reynolds, adding that the Risk Mitigation Activity will also conduct analysis on each vehicle’s ability to integrate with other key Australian Defence Force (ADF) land, sea, and air capabilities, including amphibious lift.

Both companies are to construct the IFVs locally following a contract win. Hanwha has proposed a purpose-built facility in Greater Geelong, Victoria, while Rheinmetall will do the same at its new Military Vehicle Centre of Excellence at Redbank south-west of Brisbane, Queensland.

by Jr Ng