The Australian Government will consider the findings of the Defence Strategic Review before deciding on the tender for the LAND 400 Phase 3 Infantry Fighting Vehicle project. The Infantry Fighting Vehicles will replace the current M113 Armoured Personnel Carriers that have been in service since the mid 1960’s. The Review will make recommendations on priorities for investing in Australia’s defence capability and posture, to meet the nation’s security challenges over the next decade and beyond. The final report from the Defence Strategic Review is due to be delivered to the Government early next year.
The Minister for Defence Industry, the Hon Pat Conroy MP, said,”It is responsible for the decision on a procurement worth between $18 billion and $27 billion to be informed by the findings of the Review. I would like to thank Hanwha Defense Australia, Rheinmetall Defence Australia and the many other companies involved in this tender process for their understanding and professionalism. The Government remains focused on Australia’s future defence capability. We don’t want to pre-empt the findings of the Review, which is especially critical given the rapidly changing strategic circumstances facing our nation.”
The LAND 400 Phase 3 Infantry Fighting Vehicle is the most expensive acquisition program in Army’s history and its scope has been under pressure given the Budget’s allocation of $9.9 billion to the Australian Signals Directorate for the REDSPICE program. The budget for Phase 3 was initially set at $10-15 billion in 2015 but then ballooned to $18-27 billion. In June, it was reported that the two companies vying for the program – Rheinmetall Defence Australia and Hanwha Defense Australia – were told to resubmit their bids for 300 vehicles instead of the original 450.
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 (also known as the Mounted Close Combat Capability). The Redback is an advanced version of the K21, which is in service with the South Korean Army (ROK Army). The KF41 (Kettenfahrzeug 41) is being offered to the Australian Army for the Land 400 program. Each vehicle has a crew of three and can carry six fully armed infantry soldiers. They are designed to fight alongside the country’s current and future armoured fleet and are suitably mobile.