Rheinmetall Defence Australia and Hanwha Defence Australia have both submitted their best and final offers to the Commonwealth for the Australian Army’s Project LAND 400 Phase 3 mounted close combat capability requirement.
Two examples each of the Rheinmetall KF41 Lynx infantry fighting vehicle (IFV) and Hanwha’s AS21 Redback IFV have been subjected to a range of tests over the past year as part of a comprehensive Risk Management Activity (RMA) which included blast-testing of one each of the vehicles.
“The fact that Army and Defence’s Capability Acquisition and Sustainment Group has completed perhaps the most comprehensive testing in the world of these IFVs is outstanding” Rheinmetall Defence Australia Managing Director, Gary Stewart said in a company release. “The testing and associated working group discussions have mitigated a number of risks, confirmed vehicle and company performance, and improved the access for more Australian companies to be involved in this program.”
In an October 25 statement, Defence said, “Under the LAND 400 Phase 3 project, the two contenders, Rheinmetall Defence Australia’s KF-41 LYNX and Hanwha Defense Australia’s Redback were put through their paces with a range of test serials including a user evaluation conducted by soldiers who will be the future operators of Defence’s new Infantry Fighting Vehicle capability.
“The two-year Risk Mitigation Activity has ensured that Defence is positioned well to critically evaluate the final offers and has a clear understanding of the risks associated with delivering a first class and fit-for-purpose capability to Army,” it added.
The Lynx and the Redback were shortlisted for LAND 400 Phase 3 in September 2019, and have been refined to meet Army’s demanding IFV requirements to replace the upgraded Vietnam-era M113AS4 armoured personnel carrier. Both vehicles have been publicly displayed at Canberra’s Defence Headquarters and at May’s LAND FORCES exposition in Brisbane.
Both companies have or plan to establish a manufacturing capability and large supplier base in Australia – Rheinmetall near Ipswich in Queensland, and Hanwha near Geelong in Victoria – and both have discussed the possibility of exports of vehicles or Australian-made components.
To this end, Rheinmetall Defence Australia says it will build a Lynx test chassis at its Military Vehicle Centre of Excellence (MILVEHCOE) in QLD for export to the US for the US Army’s Optionally-Manned Fighting Vehicle (OMFV) requirement to replace the M2 Bradley IFV.
“The Australian manufactured Lynx infantry fighting vehicle chassis is a test rig destined for Rheinmetall’s OMFV campaign to showcase advanced automotive capabilities in the Lynx platform,” Stewart said.