The Australian Government has shortlisted Hanwha Defense and Rheinmetall Defence for the Department of Defence’s LAND 400 Phase 3 programme.

Hanwha Defense Australia and Rheinmetall Defence Australia have been selected to take part in the next stage of evaluation under the project.

The LAND 400 Phase 3 is a DoD project to acquire 450 infantry fighting vehicles (IFV) and 17 manoeuvre support vehicles (MSV) for the Australian Army.

Also known as Mounted Close Combat Capability, the project seeks to replace the army’s existing fleet of M113 armoured personnel carriers.

Australia Defence Minister Linda Reynolds stated that the investment in the IFV capability will help tackle current and emerging threats.

Reynolds said: “These advanced vehicles will provide new levels of protection, firepower, mobility and enhanced communications.

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“This project will deliver Australia a brand-new, cutting edge capability. But we will also ensure we are well placed to work together with industry, to grow and develop the capability over the course of its life.

“When fully delivered the LAND 400 programme will allow army to successfully sustain mounted close combat operations against emerging and future threats, as part of an integrated Australian Defence Force.”

Defence Industry Minister Melissa Price said that LAND 400 Phase 3 will provide opportunities for local small and medium companies and workers to support the IFV acquisition programme and maintenance of the fleet.

Price noted that the DoD will engage with the shortlisted tenderers during the testing phase to explore the possibility of involving small and medium enterprises.

She added: “The two companies have been assessed as offering vehicles that are best able to meet the requirements of the army while providing value for money for defence.”

The department will undertake a risk mitigation activity later this year, which will be followed by a final detailed evaluation of the shortlisted companies.

The winner of the tender process will be revealed in 2022. The government will then take a final call on awarding a contract to supply the IFVs.