Northrop Grumman to supply Mk44S Bushmaster Chain Guns for Australia’s Redbacks


Northrop Grumman Corporation announced on 4 June that it is partnering with Hanwha Defense Australia (HDA) to supply Mk44 Stretch Bushmaster Chain Guns (Mk44S) for integration on the Hanwha AS21 Redback tracked infantry fighting vehicle (IFV).

Under the Australian Army’s LAND 400 Phase 3 programme, Northrop Grumman is contracted to manufacture 129 chain guns with initial deliveries commencing in 2026.

According to the company, the Mk44S chain gun enables interoperability with its advanced ammunition suite originally developed for the US Army, including armour piercing and proximity fuzed ammunition as well as the new programmable air burst munition.

“Bushmaster Chain Guns are the automatic cannon of choice for customers around the world due to their performance and reliability,” said Jennifer Zonneveld, Director, Bushmaster Chain Guns at Northrop Grumman. The company asserts that over 20,000 Bushmaster weapons are in service with land, air and sea-based combat platforms operated by 65 countries.

“In partnership with the Hanwha-led Team Redback, Northrop Grumman is providing the Australian Army with the most advanced medium caliber capability in the world, maintaining the system’s relevancy for years to come,” added Zonneveld.

This program will continue the Bushmaster legacy in Australia, as chain guns are currently integrated on the Australian Defence Force’s land, air and sea-based combat platforms.

The Australian government earlier selected HDA to deliver 129 Redback IFVs under the 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 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.

by Jr Ng