Hanwha Defense Co. is claiming a revolution in track armored infantry fighting vehicle technology as part of its new Redback family.
South Korean multinational defense and security company has rolled out two prototypes of the Redback armored infantry fighting vehicle (IFV) to be delivered to the Australian Army. The delivery is taken under the Risk Mitigation Activity (RMA) contract in line with the high-profile Land 400 Phase 3 acquisition project of the Australian Army.
The rollout ceremony took place on July 24 at a factory in Changwon, some 400 kilometers southeast of Seoul, with the attendance of CEO Lee Sung-soo and other key executives to appreciate a year-long effort to develop and produce the prototype vehicles. The participants wished for the completion of successful mission led by Hanwha Defense’s Test Support Team to depart for Australia in coming months.
In September 2019, the Australian Government shortlisted Redback as one of the two final candidates for the Land 400 Phase 3 RMA stage. The acquisition program is aimed at introducing up to 450 tracked Infantry Fighting vehicles including eight variants.
Following the shortlist, Hanwha Defense Australia (HDA) signed a $50 million RMA contract with the Capability Acquisition and Sustainment Group (CASG). Under the contract, each candidate is obliged to provide three RMA vehicles for tests and evaluations.
Two Redback RMA vehicles are scheduled to be shipped from Pyeongtaek Port on July 28 to arrive at Melbourne Port, Australia, in late August. The Australian Army will carry out tests and evaluations of the vehicles from November this year for 10-monthlong period, with focuses on the protection capability and other performances of the vehicles. User training and evaluation sessions will also be held during the period.
This rollout event is remarkable since Hanwha Defense has completed the design, production and verification of the RMA vehicles on time despite the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Redback IFV is a futuristic tracked armored vehicle based on Hanwha’s comprehensive capability accrued from the development of the indigenous K21 IFV and the power-pack solution of the K9 self-propelled howitzer. Both systems have been deployed with the South Korean Army and Marine Corps to play a key role in battlefield operations.
In particular, the introduction of an In-Arm type hydropneumatics Suspension Unit (ISU) has helped reduce the overall weight of the vehicle in comparison to the traditional design of IFV, while the unique design reinforces belly protection against landmines and bomb attacks.
The vehicle is also equipped with Israeli and Australian technologies to represent global “Team Hanwha” for the multibillion-dollar tender to replace the Australian Army’s fleet of M113 armored personnel carriers. The Redback is to be integrated with Israel Elbit Systems’ 30mm MT30 unmanned weapon station, and the Remote Weapon Station (RCW) built by Australia’s EOS Defence Systems. On top of this, the advanced tracked IFV is also equipped with the Composite Rubber Track (CRT) system, provided by Soucy Defence of Canada, for weight loss and improving mobility.
“The development of next-generation infantry fighting vehicles to compete with global defense powerhouses is a great opportunity for South Korea’s defense industry to lead the world’s emerging defense market,” Lee Sung-soo said. “We will make best efforts to become the final bidder by demonstrating the superiority of our land systems capability and development experience.”