Australian Defence selects Hanwha Defense Australia to supply 129 AS21 Redback IFVs

Hanwha Defense Australia (HDA) has been chosen by the Australian federal government as the preferred tenderer to supply 129 AS21 Redback infantry fighting vehicles to the Australian Army. The decision was reported by Peter Roberts on The new vehicles will be manufactured in Australia at Hanwha's newly constructed facilities located at Avalon Airport in Geelong, Victoria.
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Hanwha AS21 Redback IFV Infantry Fighting Vehicle during trial tests in Australia (Picture source: Australian MoD)

Minister for Defence Industry, Pat Conroy, stated that the LAND 400 Phase 3 project is valued between $5 billion and $7 billion, making it one of the largest capability acquisition initiatives in the history of the Australian Army. HDA revealed that their manufacturing partners for the project include Bisalloy, an armor steel manufacturer based in NSW, and Elphinstone, a heavy equipment manufacturer from Tasmania. Local firms Penske and Corvus in Victoria will also be involved, along with major foreign companies like Elbit Systems, Plasan, and Northrop Grumman.

Richard Cho, the Managing Director of HDA, expressed his excitement about the selection of the Redback for the Australian Army, emphasizing that it was custom-designed and built to cater specifically to the needs of the soldiers. He further highlighted that this selection strengthens the ties between Australia and the Republic of Korea.

HDA will collaborate with the Commonwealth to finalize the contract and ensure the best possible outcome for the Australian Army. Son Jaeil, President, and CEO of Hanwha Aerospace, the parent company of HDA, emphasized the significant implications of Hanwha's selection as the preferred tenderer for the Land 400 Phase 3 project on Korea-Australia defense and economic cooperation. He also noted that producing the world's first 5th-generation IFV (Infantry Fighting Vehicle) is a game-changer for Australian Defense capability, and they are eager to be true partners with Australia in this program alongside LAND 8116 Phase 1.

Hanwha AS21 Reback IFV

Land 400Phase 3 is an $18 to $ 27 billion project tasked to acquire a fleet of tracked Infantry Fighting Vehicles that will replace the aging M113AS4 fleet. This is the first time the Australian Defence Force (ADF) will have a dedicated Infantry Fighting Vehicle and will be the cornerstone of the Army's Close Combat Capability. Close Combat Capability is the chief contribution of the Army to combat operations.

Team Redback is a group of companies led by Hanwha Defense Australia that will deliver the best-of-breed technologies from around the world and Australia. Team Redback currently includes Electro Optic Systems, Elbit, ECLIPS, Milspec, Bisalloy, Soucy, Marand and CBG Systems and continues to expand rapidly.

Hanwha’s AS21 Redback is a next-generation IFV developed specifically for the Australian Infantry with advantages literally built into it from the ground up. Equipped with advanced situational awareness systems normally found on jet fighters such as see-through vision and helmet slaved systems, the Redback rides on rubber tracks that reduce noise and vibration while offering superior ride quality for its crew and the soldiers it protects. The vehicle boasts an advanced layered protection system including Elbit’s active protection system, Plasan’s world-class armour, and a structure designed to protect occupants from the effects of a blast. All this is supported by an independent suspension system that does not use torsion bars, thus supplying more volume for innovative blast mitigation systems which remove the dependence on old-fashioned suspended footrests and other design constraints. The Redback’s Australian turret has Active Protection Systems, onboard training systems and situational awareness technology all brought together for the first time in a dedicated IFV turret designed right from the start around the infantry soldier.

Redback’s main armament is an Mk44S Bushmaster II 30mm cannon capable of firing all kinds of 30mm x 173mm ammunition in service with 19 nations, including the US, the UK, and other allies and NATO forces. The cannon fires ammunition from numerous providers, including advanced munitions such as proximity fused rounds. Every cannon is fitted with a fuse setter for programmable rounds such as programmable air burst munition and proximity fused rounds. It can also be rapidly upgraded to the 40mm Supershot by exchanging three parts, giving increased lethality without the need to modify the turret or cannon. The Redback is also armed with a 7.62mm co-axially mounted machine gun, and the Electro-Optic System’s remote weapon station can be fitted with a range of weapons including a 7.62mm machine gun, a .50calibre machine and an automatic grenade launcher.

Various technologies are showcased including an Australian developed T2000 turret that was test-fired as part of the RMA trials. Australian-owned and operated company Electro Optic Systems has developed and will manufacture and support the T2000 turret in Australia. It combines the proven Elbit MT30 Mk2 turret with EOS’ fire control and electro-optic technology. This provides a sovereign capability to maintain and update the key turret systems in Australia.

Defense News July 2023