The federal government appears to have done what all governments have done recently – leaked the result of a critical government decision to favoured news sources.
In this case selected media are reporting tonight that the government has decided to buy 129 infantry fighting vehicles from South Korea’s Hanwha Defense over its German rival for the contract Rheinmetall.
While government sources said the report was speculative and an announcement would be made at 9.30am this morning, the reports are clearly more than that.
The reports said Australia will purchase the Hanwha Redback IFV specially developed for Australia rather than the German company’s Lynx.
The Redback features a turret including a remote weapons system provided by Australian defence contractor Electro Optic Systems – an Australian inclusion that perhaps gave the Redback an advantage.
The contract, under the LAND 400 Phase 3 programme, will see the vehicles built in Geelong, Victoria, and potentially exported to Korea in future.
Earlier this week @AuManufacturing reported that a meeting of Australian and Korean officials had canvassed the potential purchase by the ROK Army of Redback vehicles.
Hanwha is also manufacturing a fleet of self-propelled howitzers for the Australian Defence Force under the LAND 8116 programme.
There have been attempts to bring together the interests of Korean and Australian defence customers and industries in the past.
However should the news reports be confirmed as is likely – a new era of defence cooperation beckons for the two nations.
Korea calls for closer defence industry ties with Australia
Picture: Hanwha Defense Australia Redback IFV