Australia picks Redback for army IFV requirement

AS21 Redback
Hanwha’s AS21 Redback has been selected to be the Australian Army’s next-generation tracked combat vehicle. (Australian DoD)

The Australian government has selected Hanwha Defense Australia (HDA) to deliver 129 AS21 Redback infantry fighting vehicles (IFVs) under the Australian Army’s LAND 400 Phase 3 programme following a five-year tender which saw HDA eventually edging out Rheinmetall Defence Australia (RDA)’s Lynx KF41 IFV.

The Land 400 Phase 3 programme, which is worth A$5-7 billion, aims to replace the Australian Army’s upgraded but ageing Vietnam-era M113AS4 armoured personnel carriers (APCs).

The new vehicles – which are an evolution of the K21 IFV in service with the Republic of Korea Army (RoKA) – will be locally manufactured at HDA’s new Hanwha Armoured Vehicle Centre of Excellence (H-ACE) in Geelong, Victoria.

The same facility will also build AS9 Huntsman 155mm self-propelled howitzers (SPHs) and AS10 Armoured Ammunition Resupply Vehicles (AARVs) based on Hanwha’s highly successful K9 Thunder and K10 AARV.

“With its latest-generation armour, cannon, and missiles, the Redback vehicle will provide the protection, mobility, and firepower required to transport and protect soldiers in close combat,” said Minister for Defence Industry Pat Conroy, noting that the vehicles will be delivered between early 2027 and late 2028.

Following the selection announcement, the Australian Department of Defence (DoD) will next enter negotiations with HDA to ascertain detailed costings for the programme, which would include areas such as development and manufacturing costs, ammunition, spare parts, as well as training and simulation systems.

Australian Army chief Lieutenant General Simon Stuart noted that the Redback “best met Australia’s requirements” and was the “strong and clear recommendation” from the service after two years of trials.

“Now that [HDA] has been announced as the preferred tenderer we will undertake detailed contractual negotiations in coming months,” said Lt Gen Stuart. “Following those negotiations the government will make the second-pass decision on funding and contractual details at the end of the year.”

HDA earlier won an A$1 billion contract in December 2021 to supply 30 AS9 Huntsman SPHs and 15 AS10 AARVs under the LAND 8116 Protected Mobile Fires programme.

by Jr Ng