Australia’s Infantry Fighting Vehicle Prototypes Delivered

Rheinmetall’s Lynx KF41
Rheinmetall’s Lynx KF41

Australia’s Ministry of Defence announced it had taken delivery of the prototype Infantry Fighting Vehicles (IFV) that will be undergoing risk mitigation testing as candidates to fill the Army requirements for a Mounted Close Combat Capability (MCCC).

Three IFVs have been provided by Rheinmetall and Hanwha Défense respectively as part of Project Force 400 Phase 3. The A$15 billion (U.S. $10.3 billion) infantry fighting vehicle program is to provide 450 IFVs to replace the Army’s ageing M113AS4 armoured personnel carriers.

The prototypes of Hanwha’s AS21 Redback IFV and Rheinmetall’s Lynx KF41 will be utilized in a 12-month risk mitigation activity program. These will include use by Australian solders in operational conditions and survivability evaluations.

In a statement Defence Minister Linda Reynolds said the intent is to assess the candidate’s performance claims, focusing on the highest areas of technical risk. “These include Australian soldiers participating in user evaluation and testing, with a particular focus on the armour, firepower and mobility of the platforms”.

The Hanwha AS21 Redback is based on South Korea’s AS21 infantry fighting vehicle with STANAG 6 protection and is fitted with the T2000 turret designed by the Australian firm EOS. It mounts a Mk44S Bushmaster II 30mm cannon and a 7.62mm coaxial machine gun.

Hanwha’s AS21 Redback IFV
Hanwha’s AS21 Redback IFV

Rheinmetall’s Lynx KF41 was unveiled at its MILVEHCOE facility in Ipswich Australia in November 2020. The company is currently building its Boxer 8 X 8 Combat Reconnaissance Vehicle (CRV) here for the Army.

Both companies will manufacture in country if selected for production a decision scheduled for 2022.

by Stephen W. Miller