Hanwha Defense will ship two Redback infantry fighting vehicles (IFVs) to Australia for the Army to test them under a $4.1 billion procurement project.
Testing will take place from November to August next year. The military will take a final call on buying the Korean-built vehicles by late 2022.
Australia shortlisted Redback as one of the two final candidates for the Land 400 Phase 3 RMA stage, in September 2019. The other contender is Germany Rheinmetall's Lynx IFV.
A successful bid is expected to boost Seoul’s chances to net America’s Bradley IFV replacement program. In April, the U.S. Army announced its fourth effort to replace the M2 Bradley. The service plans to buy a vehicle that is best protected and a survivable platform that can carry troops across the battlefield to victory.
The country plans to buy 450 tracked IFVs (eight different variants) under the project.
Hanwha signed a $50 million risk-mitigation activity contract with Australia in October to provide three prototype vehicles for tests and evaluations. The third vehicle is expected to be sent by January next year.
The 40-ton Redback is capable of carrying 11 people - three crew members and eight foot soldiers -with a maximum speed of 65kmph. It features an advanced In-Arm Suspension Unit which affords greater flexibility to drive in different directions. The IFV runs on rubber tracks rather than the usual steel.