The two infantry fighting vehicles competing for more than $18.1 billion in contracts from the federal government have faced off against each other in a firepower demonstration at Puckapunyal Military Area, showcasing next-level protection, firepower and mobility.
The competitors for the army’s LAND 400 Phase 3 project, Rheinmetall Defence Australia’s KF-41 Lynx and Hanwha Defense Australia’s Redback have been undergoing extensive user-evaluation field trials.
Both companies have delivered three prototype vehicles, which are being tested over a year as part of a two-year risk mitigation activity.
A decision on the preferred tenderer will be presented to government for consideration in 2022.
Land 400 Trials Platoon Commander Major Joel Sloane said the vehicles were being tested and evaluated in all weather and in varying terrain to ensure they were fit-for-purpose.
Major Sloane said: “Our trials have involved literally blowing the vehicles up in order to test how they can withstand a range of firepower and threats.
“We have been testing the Redback and Lynx through a range of tactical scenarios in the field that will be realistic to how they will be employed in the future.”
At the firepower demonstration, both vehicles fired their 30mm main weapon cannon, and co-axial and remote weapon station 7.62mm MAG 58 machine guns, engaging targets at ranges from 300m to more than 2000m.
Capability Acquisition and Sustainment Group Head Armoured Vehicle Division Major General David Coghlan said with its next generation protection suite, 30mm cannon, anti-tank guided missiles, and the ability to engage helicopters and drones, either vehicle offered capabilities never before seen in Army.
Coghlan said: “These vehicles will provide increased firepower, mobility and, most importantly, protection for our infantry soldiers.
“We are rapidly approaching the end of the risk-mitigation activity and submission of the short-listed tenderers’ final offers. We will then undertake a final evaluation to identify the preferred tenderer.
“The live-fire shoot showcases the extensive testing and evaluation process we are undertaking to provide confidence that these new vehicles are fit-for-service.”
LAND 400 Phase 3 is the largest acquisition project in the Australian Army’s history, and could be worth up to $27.1 billion.
Each vehicle has a crew of three and can carry six fully armed infantry soldiers into battle. The vehicles are designed to fight alongside the nation’s current and future tank fleet, with commensurate mobility.
The army had been using the current M113 armoured personnel carriers (APC) since the mid 1960s, however they no longer meet requirements for protection of occupants from improvised explosive devices (IEDs).
Media: Defence/ main picture Hanwha Defense Australia Redback Infantry Fighting Vehicle (front) and Rheinmetall Defence Australia LYNX KF41 Infantry Fighting Vehicle (back)
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