Hanwha Defense Australia and Team Redback has officially launched the Redback Infantry Fighting Vehicle (IFV) ahead of delivering three vehicles to compete in the test and evaluation trials being conducted as part of the Australian Army’s Project LAND 400 Phase 3 Risk Mitigation Activity (RMA).
The RMA involves detailed test and evaluation of the vehicles that will be undertaken throughout 2021, with the aim of providing objective quality evidence to support a Government decision on the preferred tenderer.
Team Redback is the industry group led by Hanwha Defense Australia and currently comprising Electro Optic Systems (EOS), Elbit, ECLIPS, Milspec, Bisalloy, Soucy, Marand, and CBG Systems, with Hanwha continuing efforts to expand Australian industry involvement.
“The Redback is a highly advanced infantry fighting vehicle and I believe it to be the safest and most lethal on offer to the Commonwealth,” Managing Director of Hanwha Defense Australia, Richard Cho said in a statement. “The RMA is a great opportunity for the Commonwealth to become familiar with the highly advanced technology seamlessly integrated in Redback.
“The Iron Vision system that allows the Redback’s crew to effectively look through the hull of the vehicle as though it isn’t there is an absolute game changer when it comes to operating heavy armoured vehicles in close company with dismounted troops,” Cho added.
The Redback being offered for LAND 400 Phase 3 includes an EOS T2000 turret mounting a main a Mk44S Bushmaster II 30mm cannon and a 7.62mm co-axially mounted machine gun. An EOS R400 four-axis Remote Weapons Station (RWS) is also mounted on the turret roof, and can be integrated with a range of weapons including 7.62mm machine gun, 12.7mm machine, and an automatic grenade launcher.
CEO Defence Systems of EOS, Grant Sanderson told ADBR that the COVID-19 pandemic has slowed efforts to integrate the turret, pointing out that having to fly engineers between Australia, Israel, and South Korea has been a challenge.
But he said the lethality testing of the integrated turret is continuing, and is expected to culminate in a full live firing of the turret with Australian optics and system in August.
Protection for the Redback meets STANAG Level 6 requirements, and is fitted with a range of active and passive protection system in addition to the Plasan add-on armour, survivable seats in the troop compartment, and a floating floor designed to mitigate the effects of mines or Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs).
The passive protection system includes Elbit laser warning devices providing all-round coverage, while active protection comes in the form of the Israeli company’s Iron Fist Active Protection System (APS).
The Redback is also designed with ride comfort in mind, with rubber tracks and independent suspension in lieu of more common metal running gear and torsion bar suspension. Hanwha added that noise reduction measures has also meant that it is possible to conduct conversations in the troop compartment even when the vehicle is moving.
Hanwha says it will manufacture the Redback at a new purpose-built facility in the Geelong area alongside the AS9/AS10 self-propelled artillery vehicles the Commonwealth plans to acquire under Project LAND 8116 protected mobility fires requirement for which it has been offered a sole-source RFT. It says the three Redback vehicles to be used in the RMA have been built using Australian made Bisalloy steel.
LAND 400 Phase 3 is an $18 to $27 billion project tasked to acquire some 450 tracked Infantry Fighting Vehicles that will replace the M113AS4 fleet. Also shortlisted for the RMA in September 2019 was the Rheinmetall Lynx KF41 IVF, the first of which was unveiled at that company’s MILVEHCOE facility in Queensland in November 2020.
Phase 3 will be the first time that the ADF will have a dedicated IFV, and it will form be the cornerstone of the Army close combat capability, the chief contribution of Army to combat operations.