The Australian Department of Defence (DoD) has signed contracts with Hanwha and Rheinmetall for the Risk Mitigation Activity (RMA) phase of the LAND 400 Phase 3 programme.

Hanwha Defense Australia and Rheinmetall Defence Australia were shortlisted last month to participate in the next stage of evaluation under the project.

The DoD’s A$15bn ($10.3bn) project is designed to equip the Australian Army with 450 infantry fighting vehicles (IFV) and 17 manoeuvre support vehicles (MSV).

Pursuant to the RMA contracts, Hanwha and Rheinmetall will participate in risk mitigation activities.

Australia Defence Minister Linda Reynolds said: “This programme is a significant investment in army’s capability. It will make our personnel safer, more effective on operations, and will complement our investment in Boxer Combat Reconnaissance Vehicles under LAND400 Phase 2.”

The DoD plans to conduct the RMA phase over a period of two years to carry out a technical and programmatic assessment of the two proposals.

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The phase will give the two firms the opportunity to refine and negotiate their tenders.

Infantry fighting vehicles will be put through a test and evaluation programme by the Australian Army.

During the testing phase, the vehicles will undergo transportability, lethality, mobility, troop assessments, blast and ballistic testing.

Rheinmetall stated that the RMA contract is valued at around A$50m ($34.33m).

The company will deliver three Lynx KF41 Infantry Fighting Vehicles to compete in the planned trials.

Rheinmetall Defence Australia managing director Gary Stewart said: “Development, integration and test of the Lynx KF41 vehicles will also take place during RMA at Rheinmetall’s new Military Vehicle Centre of Excellence (MILVEHCOE) in Australia from next year in support of the RMA trials.

“Should Rheinmetall secure a contract to deliver LAND 400 Phase 3, the Lynx KF41 fleet will be manufactured at the MILVEHCOE, located at Redbank and south-west of Brisbane.”