Shown above is the Redback infantry fighting vehicle of Hanwha Defense. The firm has demonstrated performances of the vehicle during a media invitation event late last week. Photo courtesy of Hanwha Defense

Korean Army stages six-week-long trial

South Korean defense company Hanwha Defense announced on May 29 that its Redback infantry fighting vehicle (IFV) had demonstrated performances during a media invitation event held two days earlier.

The Seoul-based company said that the event had taken place at the end of the Republic of Korean Army’s six-week-long trial of the next-generation IFV.

The defense giant noted that the ROK Army trial had followed the Redback’s successful tests and evaluations last year under the Australian Risk Mitigation Activity to select the preferred bidder for the LAND 400 Phase 3 project aimed at acquiring about 400 next-generation IFVs.

During the media event, the tracked armored vehicle showcased its off-road maneuverability through an obstacle course, including a ramp and a muddy puddle of water.

“The reliability and sophisticated technology of the Redback IFV have been proved during the latest ROK Army trial run of the vehicle, which is expected to be a strong basis for the Redback’s international sales and marketing,” said Brig. Gen. Cho Hyun-ki, head of the DAPA’s Maneuver Program Department.

“Domestically, we consider acquiring a Korean version of the Redback meeting the ROK Army’s operational concept and capable of featuring technology and performance required by the service, under a fast-track research and development program,” Cho added.

“With this approach, the ROK Army will be able to deploy next-generation IFVs earlier than schedule, which will contribute to improving the service’s capability to deploy and sustain armed forces.”

Short for Defense Acquisition Program Administration, the DAPA administers South Korea’s improvement projects of defense capability, the procurement of munitions, and the fostering of defense industries.

The fast-track R&D program is aimed at procuring weapons systems equipped with the latest technologies after verifying the military utilization of the systems concerned.

With this rapid R&D program, the military is able to shorten the period of introducing state-of-the-art weapons systems to an extent.

Hanwha Defense has strived to meet the demands of the ROK Army, as the company is scheduled to conduct the durability testing on the Redback’s maneuverability on the Korean terrain from August this year.

The testing is to cover around 10,000 kilometers of driving on rough terrain as well as on paved and unpaved roads.

Taking advantage of core technologies of the K21 Infantry Fighting Vehicle, the Redback was developed to meet the operational requirements of the Australian Defense Force.

The tracked vehicle features several innovative technologies such as the composite rubber track; the Iron Vision see-through helmet mounted display; the Iron Fist hard-kill active protection system; the In-arm type hydro-pneumatic suspension unit; the offboard Health and Usage Management System; and the Solar Sigma Shield technology.

The Redback is also gunning for the U.S. and European markets.

The Oshkosh Defense Consortium, including Hanwha Defense USA, is trying to leverage the proven capability of the Redback for the U.S. Army’s Optionally Manned Fighting Vehicle (OMFV) design effort. Several European nations have also shown in the Redback for their IFV acquisition programs.

“The Redback demonstrated its overwhelming performance during the final tests and evaluations in Australia, and the latest trial run of the Redback for the ROK Army proved the vehicle’s all-terrain capabilities and reliability,” said Lee Boo-hwan, Vice President of Hanwha Defense’s Overseas Department.

“We’re confident in the Redback’s competitiveness in the global IFV market.”

The publisher studied Korean history in Seoul and management of business administration in the United Kingdom. He has 20-year experiences in the media business. Kim can be reached at voc200@gmail.com or 82-2-6956-6698.