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Rheinmetall and Hanwha shortlisted for Australian IFV requirement

16 September 2019
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The Lynx KF41 IFV, pictured at Eurosatory 2018, is one of the two shortlisted contenders for Australia’s Project Land 400 Phase 3. Source: IHS Markit/Patrick Allen

Rheinmetall Defence's Lynx KF41 infantry fighting vehicle (IFV) and Hanwha Defense's AS21 Redback IFV have been selected to compete for the AUD10-15 billion (USD6.9-10.3 billion) project to provide the Australian Army with up to 450 modern IFVs and 17 manoeuvre support vehicles.

Announcing the shortlist on 16 September, Australia's Minister for Defence, Linda Reynolds, said Project Land 400 Phase 3 is expected to provide the army with a world-class capability that would ensure new levels of protection, firepower, mobility, and enhanced communications.

"When fully developed the Land 400 programme will allow [the] army to successfully sustain mounted close combat operations against emerging and future threats as part of an integrated Australian Defence Force," said Reynolds.

The selected IFV will replace obsolescent M113AS4 armoured personnel carriers, which, although upgraded in recent years, date from the mid-1960s.

The German and South Korean contenders defeated proposals by General Dynamics Land Systems, which pitched its AJAX armoured fighting vehicle, and BAE Systems Hägglunds, which proposed its CV90 IFV, in a request for tender (RFT) that closed in March 2019. All four vehicles are tracked.

The RFT listed only three essential requirements. These were the platform's ability to carry six dismounts, the ability to be strategically deployed by the Royal Australian Navy's (RAN's) two Canberra-class Landing Helicopter Dock (LHD) amphibious ships, and the ability to be carried by Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) C-17A Globemaster III strategic airlifters.

The RFT stated that a key part of potential cost efficiency could be commonality with Project Land 400 Phase 2, under which Rheinmetall Defence was contracted in August 2018 to supply the Australian Army with 211 Boxer 8×8 armoured vehicles.

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