Koreaherald said Sunday that Hanwha Defense was shipping two Redback infantry fighting vehicles to the Australian Army for testing, part of a project worth roughly 5 trillion won ($4.1 billion). The Australian military will decide whether to make a final offer on the Korean-made vehicles by late 2022, after testing them from November to August next year. Hanwha signed a $50 million risk-mitigation activity contract with Australia in October to provide three prototype vehicles for tests and evaluations. The two Redbacks will arrive in Melbourne late next month, departing from the Pyeongtaek Port in southwestern Gyeonggi Province. A third vehicle may be sent there by January next year, depending on how the assessment process unfolds in Australia.
Hanwha Defense have proposed a development of the K21 known as the AS21 Redback equipped with a 40mm caliber automatic cannon for the Australian Army’s LAND 400 Phase 3 IFV competition. The Redback, named after a highly venomous spider found in Australia, has unmatched strength in defense capabilities and mobility. The 40-ton Redback is capable of carrying 11 people with a maximum speed of 65 kilometers per hour. It also features the advanced In-Arm Suspension Unit, which affords greater flexibility to drive in different directions and run on rubber tracks rather than the usual steel to reduce vehicle weight as much as possible for freer, more rapid movement The vehicle equipped with the same engine and transmission as the one in the K9 Thunder, Korea’s locally made self-propelled howitzer had increased mobility.
A replacement for the South Korean K200-series infantry fighting vehicles, formerly designated as K300 or XK21 KNIFV (Korea Next-generation Infantry Fighting Vehicle), is currently called the K21. The initial production began in 2009, with the Republic of Korea Army planning to field approximately 466 units. It is designed to effectively defeat other IFVs as heavily armed and armored as the BMP-3. The K21 KNIFV’s chassis is constructed entirely out of fiberglass, reducing the weight of the vehicle and enabling it to travel at higher speeds without bulky and powerful engines. The NIFV is to be lighter than other IFVs, including the American Bradley series, increasing both speed and payload.