Redbacks headed for Melbourne
The first two Hanwha Redback Infantry Fighting Vehicles (IFV) have been officially unveiled in South Korea before being loaded on a ship bound for Melbourne.
The vehicles will be delivered to the Australian Army as part of the Risk Mitigation Activity (RMA) for Project LAND 400 Phase 3 to select a vehicle to provide 450 IFVs to replace the Army’s M113AS4 Armoured Personnel Carriers.
The ship with the vehicles is expected to arrive in Melbourne at the end of August. A third Redback vehicle will later join the project’s RMA phase, which will see the Redback square off against the Rheinmetall’s KF41 Lynx.
Japan to continue assembling F-35s
Japan has reversed an earlier decision to stop its final assembly of the Lockheed-Martin F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter.
The country’s defence ministry has said that the costs of F-35s assembled at the Final Assembly and Check Out (FACO) facility in Nagoya have dropped sufficiently enough to keep the process viable, enabling Japan to reverse its late 2018 decision to close the facility and opt for importing aircraft built at Lockheed Martin’s Ft Worth plant in Texas.
Japan will be the biggest operator of the F-35 outside of the US, having stated its intention to acquire up to 147 F-35s, including 42 Short Take-Off and Vertical Landing (STOVL) F-35Bs. The Japan Air Self-Defense Force (JASDF) has recently stood up its first operational squadron of F-35As.
Indonesian eyes German frigate for interim requirement
Indonesia has expressed an interest in acquiring a German Navy F122 Bremen class frigate to cover a capability gap in its fleet of surface combatants.
The requirement for an Interim Readiness Frigate (IRF) recommends that the German Navy ship be acquired ahead of an eventual acquisition of two new-build frigates.
Indonesia has previously indicated at the Danish Iver Huitfeldt class is the preferred design for the latter, and state-owned shipbuilder PT PA has signed a preamble contract in June with the Indonesian agent for Danish company Odense Maritime Technology (OMT) that is expected to pave the way for a formal contract in the future.
Germany has one remaining Bremen class frigate – the F214 Lübeck – in service from an original fleet of eight.
Malaysia considers terminating delayed Gowind program
Malaysian defence minister (MINDEF) Ismail Sabri Yaakob has said that the country is considering its options over its badly delayed Littoral Combat Ship project, with the termination the entire contract being flagged as a possibility.
MINDEF said during a parliamentary session on 3 August that other options being considered by the ministry include pressing on with the current arrangement, or appointing a new contractor to replace Boustead Naval Shipyard which is currently tasked with building the ships. The LCS is based on the Naval Group Gowind class frigate design.
He noted that the original plan was to have two of the six ships already delivered by now, and added that the first of class – the Maharaja Lela – was less than 60 per cent complete.