Defence announces IFV contract, but no word on who in defence is leaking


The federal government has announced that it has selected Hanwha Defense Australia as the preferred tenderer to deliver 129 infantry fighting vehicles to the Australian Army.

The Government has also decided that the new vehicles will be built in Australia at Hanwha’s facilities now under construction at Avalon airport in Geelong, Victoria.

Conroy said the LAND 400 Phase 3 project would have a value of between $5 billion and $7 billion, making it one of the largest capability acquisition projects in the history of the Army.

HDA subsequently said its manufacturing partners for the project included armour steel manufacturer Bisalloy in NSW and heavy equipment manufacturer Elphinstone in Tasmania as well as local firms Penske and Corvus in Victoria.

Major foreign companies to be utilised include Elbit Systems, Plasan and Northrop Grumman.

However the announcement from Defence Media made under the name of Minister for Defence Industry Pat Conroy made no mention that the previous day, as reported in @AuManufacturing, this critical defence investment had been leaked to selected media.

It seems unlikely that the government itself leaked details of the contract – why would they leak to a newspaper, The Australian, that has its stories behind a paywall if they hoped to maximise coverage.?

And why would they leak when today’s announcement to all media has fallen so totally flat?

A leak to the Defence Connect news website is more understandable as they are widely read in the defence community.

​Unanswered questions include why someone, presumably in the defence decision making process or in Defence media would leak a critical decision to The Australian newspaper which is well known for its misrepresentations and antipathy to the current federal government?

What could they hope to gain other than favours in return, or to embarrass the government?

And what else are they prepared to leak, and to whom?

Managing Director of HDA Richard Cho thanked the company’s industry partners who supported the company through the Risk Mitigation Activity during the challenging times that COVID.

Cho said: “The selection of the Redback for the Australian Army is an exciting milestone not just for soldiers, who will have an IFV that was specifically designed and built for them, as it also cements the closer ties between Australia and the Republic of Korea.”

HDA will work with the Commonwealth to finalise the contract and deliver the
optimum outcome for the Australian Army.

The President and CEO of Hanwha Aerospace, parent company of HDA Son Jaeil said: “Hanwha’s selection as preferred tenderer for the Land 400 Phase 3 project has major
implications for Korea-Australia defence and economic cooperation.

“Production of the world’s first fifth generation IFV is a game changer for Australian Defence capability.

“We’re looking forward to being a true partner to Australia for this programme alongside LAND 8116 Phase 1.”

Picture: Hanwha Defence Australia

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