In a compelling twist, Hanwha Aerospace of South Korea, the country’s premier defence company, triumphed over Germany’s Rheinmetall, claiming an Australian contract potentially hitting the A$7 billion mark ($4.74 billion). The deal centers around constructing 129 cutting-edge infantry fighting vehicles.
Defence Industry Minister Pat Conroy pronounced this agreement as a cornerstone in Australian Army’s history, with a financial footprint oscillating between A$5 and A$7 billion.
The vehicles, a pinnacle of modern technology, will feature top-tier armour, cannons, and missile systems, enabling soldiers to wield optimum protection, agility, and firepower during close-quarters combat, Conroy disclosed to the media.
The forthcoming fleet, set for assembly in Victoria at Hanwha’s domestic facilities, will succeed the long-serving M113 armoured personnel carriers, first commissioned in 1964.
This strategic move comes amidst Australia’s ongoing defence expansion, an outcome of the shifting power dynamics within the Pacific theatre, where China’s footprint is escalating.
Minister Conroy stated the government’s intention to expedite production, with a goal to roll out the inaugural vehicle by early 2027, a two-year advancement on the original timeline, wrapping up the project by 2028.
Hanwha conveyed that this landmark deal enhances Australia-South Korea relations and carries “considerable ramifications” for defence and economic collaboration. Rheinmetall has remained silent, not yet offering a comment on this development.
The Australian administration’s selection of Hanwha’s Redback as its infantry combat vehicle occurred in the aftermath of Prime Minister Anthony Albanese’s journey to Germany. There, an understanding to export 100 Boxer armoured carriers, crafted in Australia by Rheinmetall, back to Germany was reached.