South Korean company Hanwha Corp. has come out on top in a tender process to secure a multi-billion-dollar defense contract with the Australian armed forces. The contract involves the delivery of 129 infantry-fighting vehicles, designed to enhance the country’s army and provide a high level of protection for soldiers.
The deal, which is valued at up to 7 billion Australian dollars, represents one of the largest capability acquisition projects in the history of the Australian army. The government has expressed the urgency to expedite this acquisition, with the first vehicle expected to be delivered by early 2027—two years ahead of the former government’s plan. The final vehicle is slated for delivery by late 2028.
In April, a comprehensive review of Australia’s military highlighted the need for a swift overhaul in order to address concerns surrounding escalating tensions between the U.S. and China. The review concluded that the current strategic environment requires a military that is fully fit for purpose.
The contract, referred to as the LAND 400 Phase 3 project, will see Hanwha Defense Australia replace the M113 armored personnel carriers acquired back in 1964. The new infantry-fighting vehicles, known as Redbacks, will be delivered alongside the new HIMARS missile systems and Army Landing Craft.
The city of Geelong in Victoria state is set to benefit from this deal as the vehicles will be manufactured in the region. The Australian government aims to boost local defense production, reducing reliance on overseas suppliers. Minister for Defence Industry Pat Conroy emphasized that building the Redback infantry-fighting vehicles in Australia will create up to 600 direct jobs and over a thousand more in the Australian industry supply chain.