KF-41 Lynx and Redback AS-21 IFVs conduct firepower demonstration for Australian army

According to information released by the Australian Department of Defense on August 4, 2021, Rheinmetall Defence Australia with its KF-41 Lynx and Hanwha Defense Australia with the Readback AS-21, the two contender vehicles for Australia’s soon-to-be-selected infantry fighting vehicle (IFV) (LAND 400 Phase 3 project) recently conducted a firepower demonstration at Puckapunyal Military Area, showcasing next-level protection, firepower and mobility.
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Soldiers from the 7th Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment, stand with the Hanwha Defense Australia Redback, left, and Rheinmetall Defence Australia Lynx KF-41, right, infantry fighting vehicles. Photo: Sergeant Jake Sims. (Picture source Australia DoD)

Rheinmetall Defence Australia’s KF-41 Lynx and Hanwha Defense Australia’s AS-21 Redback have been facing off in extensive user-evaluation field trials.

Both companies have delivered three prototype vehicles, which are being tested over the course of this year as part of a two-year risk mitigation activity. A decision on the preferred tenderer will be presented to the government for consideration in 2022. Land 400 Trials Platoon Commander Major Joel Sloane said the vehicles were being tested and evaluated in all weather and in varying terrain to ensure they were fit-for-purpose.

At the firepower demonstration, both vehicles fired their 30mm main weapon cannon, and co-axial and remote weapon station 7.62mm MAG 58 machine guns, engaging targets at ranges from 300m to more than 2000m.

Capability Acquisition and Sustainment Group Head Armoured Vehicle Division Major General David Coghlan said with its next-generation protection suite, 30mm cannon, anti-tank guided missiles, and the ability to engage helicopters and drones, either vehicle offered capabilities never before seen in Army.

Each vehicle has a crew of three and can carry six fully armed infantry soldiers into battle. The vehicles are designed to fight alongside the nation’s current and future tank fleet, with commensurate mobility. Individual vehicle craft, tactical manoeuvres, advances and attacks on objectives are just some of the activities the project is putting these vehicles to the test in.

Both companies, should they be successful, have committed to building the majority of vehicles in Australia, with substantial investment in Australian industry capability, supporting Australian jobs, talent and technology.

Valued at between $18.1 billion and $27.1 billion, the Land 400 Phase 3 project is the largest acquisition project in Army’s history.

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Hanwha defense Australia Redback AS-31 tracked armored IFV, candidate for the Land 400 Phase 3 program of the Australian army. (Picture source Australia DoD)

The Redback AS-21 is a tracked armored IFV developed and designed by the South Korean company Hanwha Defense as a contender for the Land 400 Phase 3 program of the Australian army. It is an advanced version of the K21 tracked IFV in service with the South Korean armed forces. The first prototype of the vehicle was unveiled in October 2019 during the ADEX, Seoul International Aerospace & Defense Exhibition.

The design of the Redback is standard for a modern IFV, with the driver position at the left front side of the hull with the engine compartment of its right, the turret in the middle and the troops compartment at the rear. The hull and the turret provide a high level of protection against ballistic and mine threats.

The Redback is fitted with a turret that can be manned or unmanned, armed with one Bushmaster MK44S 30mm cannon, a MAG 58 7.62mm coaxial machine gun, eight 76mm multi-barrel smoke grenade dischargers and two SPIKE LR2 anti-tank guided missile launchers. The roof of the turret can be fitted with a remùotely operated weapon station EOS R400 Mk2 armed with one 7.62mm or 12.7mm machine gun.

The Redback AS-21 is motorized with an MTU eight-cylinder diesel engine developing 1,000 hp coupled to an automatic transmission. It can run at a maximum road speed of 65 km/h with a maximum cruising range of 520 km.

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Rheinmetall Defense Australia KF-41 Lynx tracked armored Infantry Fighting Vehicle, one of the contenders for the Land 400 Phase 3 program of the Australian army. (Picture source Australia DoD)

The KF41 Lynx is an IFV (Infantry Fighting Vehicle) in the Lynx family of a tracked armored vehicle designed, developed and manufactured by the German Company Rheinmetall Defence. The KF41 was unveiled in June 2018 at Eurosatory 2018 in two configurations: IFV and Command Post. The KF41 has been designed to offer a new generation of tracked armored offering modularity and a high level of protection.

The KF41 IFV (Infantry Fighting Vehicle) variant was presented at Eurosatory 2018 with A Lance 2.0 turret, the next generation of the in-service Lance family and has been developed to improve its suitability for an IFV. The turret is armed with the Wotan 35 electrically driven 35mm cannon that fires Rheinmetall’s proven and in-service 35x228mm ammunition family. The WOTAN 35 is the latest member of the WOTAN cannon family and, due to its larger caliber, delivers longer range and deeper penetration than 30mm cannons. A 7.62mm coaxial machine gun is mounted to the left of the main armament.

The KF41 Lynx has a powerpack in the front of the hull including an 850 kW (1140hp) Liebherr engine and a proven Renk transmission. It can run at a maximum road speed of 70 km/h with a maximum cruising range of 500 km. It can negotiate a gradient of 60% and side slopes of 30%. It can cross a trench of 2.5m, climb a vertical obstacle of 1 m and has a fording depth of 1.5m without preparation.