Australia selects Hanwha for $7b infantry vehicle manufacturing contract

Image credit: Hanwha Defence Australia

South Korean company Hanwha has secured an up to $7 billion contract with the Australian Government for the manufacturing of 129 new infantry fighting vehicles. 

Described as one of the largest capability acquisitions in the Australian Army’s history, the LAND 400 Phase 3 project is expected to support Australia’s strategic imperative to develop sovereign defence manufacturing capabilities. 

The LAND 400 Phase project will support up to 600 direct jobs and more than a thousand jobs in the Australian industry supply chain, according to Minister for Defence Industry Pat Conroy. 

Hanwha will manufacture the new vehicles at its facilities in the Geelong region. The first Redback is expected to be delivered in early 2027, replacing the M113 armoured personnel carriers, which were acquired in 1964. 

Equipped with the latest-generation armour, cannon, and missiles, the new Redback infantry vehicles will deliver the protection mobility and firepower needed to transport and protect soldiers in close combat. 

The acquisition is aligned with the Australian government’s drive to modernise the Army and ensure it could respond to the land challenges in the region. 

The new fighting vehicles are slated to be delivered about the same time as the new HIMARS missiles systems and landing craft, reflecting the Defence Strategic Review’s call for the Australian Army to be transformed for littoral manoeuvre operations from Australia. 

“We are also committed to supporting Australian defence industry so we can make more of the critical defence equipment we need in this country rather than relying on overseas suppliers,” said Minister Conroy. 

The decision to select Hanwha’s Redback as the country’s new infantry vehicle follows  Prime Minister Anthony Albanese’s visit to Germany, where he signed an in-principle agreement to export 100 Boxer armed carriers made in Australia by defence contractor Rheinmetall back to Germany.