The two vehicles under consideration for Australia’s multi-billion dollar infantry fighting vehicle project have undergone sea transportability trials on Sydney Harbour. The vehicles were tested on their interoperability with a wide range of naval assets at HMAS Penguin and Garden Island naval bases, including various Navy landing craft and major ships including HMAS Choules and the landing helicopter dock, HMAS Adelaide. These trials for the Hanwha Defense Australia’s Redback and Rheinmetall Defence Australia’s KF-41 Lynx marked the end of the extensive test and evaluation program undertaken as part of the two-year risk mitigation activity under the LAND 400 Phase 3 project.
Australian Government Department of Defence tested the ability of the vehicles to operate on and off the landing craft and ships, including transfers between the assets. The integration testing ensured the vehicles could effectively operate with the wider joint force. Valued at between $18.1 billion and $27.1 billion, the infantry fighting vehicle project represents the biggest acquisition in the history of the Australian Army. The project’s risk mitigation activity has now concluded and the project is scheduled to be considered by the government next year.
The K21 is a South Korean infantry fighting vehicle (IFV) design by Hanwha Defense (previously Doosan DST). Hanwha Defense have proposed a development of the K21 known as the AS21 Redback, equipped with a 30mm caliber automatic cannon for the Australian Army’s LAND 400 Phase 3 IFV competition. In mid-September 2019, Rheinmetall’s Lynx KF41 Infantry Fighting Vehicle (IFV) and Hanwha’s Redback AS21 IFV were shortlisted for consideration for the Australian Army’s project Land 400 Phase 3. In 2021, prototype AS21s were delivered to the Australian Army for testing purposes.
The Lynx is a German armoured fighting vehicle developed by Rheinmetall. This model, as displayed for the first time at Eurosatory 2018, has a maximum permissible gross vehicle weight of up to 50 tonnes. The KF41 can carry a crew of three plus eight passengers. It is powered by an 850 kW (1,140 hp) engine and has a top speed of 70 km/h (43 mph). The KF41 is being offered to the Australian Army for the Land 400 program. In December 2020, the first of three KF41s were sent to Australia for testing under the Land 400 program. If successful, Australia will purchase a total of 450 KF41s for a total of $18.1 billion AUD ($13.30 billion USD).