Australia | Selects Hanwha’s AS21 Redback as its next Infantry Fighting Vehicle
Defence Redefined
Published on 27/07/2023 at 15:58

South Korea’s Hanwha Defense won the bid for the Australian Defence Forces’ (ADFs) Land 400 Phase 3 tender regarding the next Infantry Fighting Vehicle (IFV) with its AS21 Redback IFV, beating out a rival bid from Rheinmetall with the respective KF-41 Lynx IFV.

The contract, however, will be much smaller than originally expected, as in April this year the Australian government of Prime Minister Anthony Albanese announced that it was slashing the procurement in question from 450 vehicles to 129. 

The decision was made in response to Australia’s Defence Strategic Review (DSR), which the Albanese government received in February 2023. Through the Land 400 Phase 3 program, Australia seeks to replace the fleet of M113AS3/4 armoured personnel carriers, around 400 of which remain in Australian Army service.

At a cost of between $5 billion and $7 billion, the LAND 400 Phase 3 project will be one of the largest capability acquisitions in the Australian Army’s history. The first Redback will be delivered in early 2027.

Also read: Rheinmetall Lynx KF41 | The first of three Lynx for Australia is unveiled – VIDEO

According to the Australian website Defence Connect, the Redback performed marginally better than its German competitor, the KF-41 Lynx, with the Australian Department of Defence deferring the decision ultimately to the Government as both vehicles were deemed operationally suitable.

Some observers had thought the Lynx was the favourite to win Land 400 Phase 3 because the ADF had already selected Rheinmetall’s Boxer 8×8 AFV to replace its wheeled Australian Light Armoured Vehicles (ASLAVs).

Also read: KMW | Tracked version of Boxer multi-role armoured vehicle unveiled at Eurosatory 2022

The AS21 Redback IFV is an advanced version of the K21 IFV already in service with the Republic of Korea Army. It features an EOS T-2000 turret armed with a Bushmaster MK44S 30 mm cannon, a MAG 58 7.62 mm coaxial machine gun, 76 mm multi-barrel smoke grenade dischargers and two Spike LR2 missile launchers. The vehicle is protected by the Elbit Systems Iron Fist active protection system and powered by an MTU eight-cylinder diesel engine generating 1,000 hp.

The Australian Department of Defence shortlisted the Redback and Lynx for Land 400 Phase 3 in September 2019 and signed risk mitigation activity contracts with Hanwha and Rheinmetall the following month that called for three test vehicles to be delivered from each bidder. These were delivered in early 2021 and an announcement of the winning bidder was originally set to be announced in 2022.

Local subsidiary Hanwha Defense Australia will build the Australian Redbacks at a new factory near Avalon Airport in Geelong, Victoria, supporting Australia’s strategic imperative to develop domestic defence manufacturing capabilities.

Also read: Australia | Hanwha Defense-led team launches AS21 Redback IFV – VIDEO




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