Australia awards infantry fighting vehicle contract to Hanwha

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

The Australian Department of Defence (DoD) has inked acquisition and initial support contracts worth A$4.5 billion with Hanwha Defense Australia (HDA) aimed at delivering 129 Redback infantry fighting vehicles (IFVs) to the Australian Army under its Land 400 Phase 3 programme,

The DoD announced on 8 December that the contracts also include the development and delivery of training system and support system components until Final Acceptance (FA) in 2029, with an initial support contract for the first five years following delivery.

HDA noted in a separate statement that Redback IFV deliveries will commence in 2027, with the final vehicle expected to be delivered in late 2028, noting that eight prototype vehicles will also be manufactured in both South Korea and Australia as part of the development programme.

The Australian government selected HDA to deliver 129 Redback IFVs in late July 2023, which will be manufactured and assembled in Australia at Hanwha Armoured Vehicle Centre of Excellence (H-ACE) in Geelong, Victoria. The facility is expected to commence manufacturing operations from 2024.

The DoD noted that the programme is expected to generate and support around 2,100 direct and indirect jobs during its peak. Over 90 Australian companies are also expected to contribute to local manufacture of the Redbacks.

This is an important project for the Australian Army that will be delivered by highly skilled workers in Greater Geelong and other centres of Australian manufacturing,” said Deputy Prime Minister Richard Marles.

“This is a significant investment that will properly equip the Army so it can keep Australians safe. This is another part of our plan for a future built in Australia,” added Marles.

The DoD added that the new vehicles will be operated by the 3rd Armoured Combat Brigade in Townsville and delivered around the same time as the Lockheed Martin HIMARS self-propelled rocket systems and army landing craft, reflecting the transition of the army to littoral manoeuvre operations under the Defence Strategic Review.

by Jr Ng