Shown above is the Redback infantry fighting vehicle of Hanwha Defense, which is one of two contenders to win the Project Land 400 Phase 3 of Australia. Photo courtesy of Hanwha Defense

Two defense giants join hands to win Australian military project

Partners of Hanwha Defense proactively support the Korean company’s efforts to win the Project Land 400 Phase 3 of Australia with its “Redback” infantry fighting vehicles (IFVs).

Hanwha Defense announced on April 27 that one of its key partners, the Soucy Group, is willing to transfer 50 percent of its top-end technology to Australia to enable local manufacture in case Hanwha wins the project.

Then, track mechanical components like road wheels and idlers would be sub-licensed to Australian industry, possibly one or more small- to medium-sized companies, according to Hanwha.

Currently, Hanwha’s Redback is under consideration by Melbourne under an ongoing tender process for the Project Land 400 Phase 3 of acquiring 450 IFVs.

The Soucy Group is a global giant whose composite rubber track (CRT) increases the competitive edge of the Redbacks as it enables fuel savings of up to 30 percent compared to conventional metal track designs.

Hanwha noted that CRT offers many other advantages over traditional options, including up to 70 percent less vibration, 13.5 decibels of noise reduction, less weight, better maneuverability, and a maximum of 80 percent less maintenance.

Two-way competition with Lynx of Rheinmetall

In 2019, Hanwha defeated global contenders from the United States and the United Kingdom to be shortlisted as one of two finalists of the multi-billion-dollar Australian project.

Its competitor is the Lynx of Germany’s Rheinmetall, which is known to use metal tracks.

After wrapping up performance assessments with the two competitors’ trial products, the Australian government is set to decide the preferred bidder in late 2022.

“Hanwha’s overall AIC strategy is to deliver to our customer the best technologies from Australia and around the world,” said Richard Cho, who leads Hanwha Defense’s operation in Australia.

“In this instance, Soucy’s CRT is a highly innovative product that offers significant advantages, and we are enormously pleased to be working with them to bring that technology to Australia under the Risk Mitigation Activity.”

Short for Australian Industry Capability, the AIC program encourages the involvement of Australian industry in supply chains.

Soucy’s senior official Normand Lalonde also expressed the company’s commitment to the Redback’s success.

“Soucy has a long history of working successfully with Hanwha, and we are excited to see that relationship extend into Australia with our CRT on the Redback IFV,” he said.

“Soucy has a long-term strategy for the Asia-Pacific region, and our cooperation with Hanwha is an important part of that.”