MELBOURNE, Australia — Hanwha-led Team Redback officially launched its Redback infantry fighting vehicle on Tuesday ahead of delivering three for evaluation trials as part of a risk mitigation effort for the Australian Army.

The infantry fighting vehicles are undergoing trials as part of Project Land 400 Phase 3, which is tasked to acquire about 450 tracked IFVs that will replace Australia’s fleet of M113AS4 armored personnel carriers. The Redback, which is named after a venomous spider found in Australia, is up against Rheinmetall’s Lynx KF41 for the program, which is due to announce a winner in 2022.

The risk mitigation effort involves detailed test and evaluation of the vehicles throughout 2021 with the aim of providing objective quality evidence to support a government decision on the preferred platform.

Team Redback is the group of companies led by Hanwha Defense Australia, and includes Electro Optic Systems, Elbit Systems and several other Australian companies.

Protection for the Redback meets STANAG Level 6 requirements (a NATO standard), and is fitted with a range of active and passive protection systems in addition to survivable seats in the troop compartment, a floating floor to mitigate the effects of mines or improvised explosive devices, and Plasan-made add-on armor.

The passive protection system includes Elbit laser warning devices providing all-around coverage, while active protection comes in the form of the Israeli company’s Iron Fist active protection system.

The Redback is based on South Korea’s AS21 infantry fighting vehicle and is fitted with an EOS T2000 turret mounting a Mk44S Bushmaster II 30mm cannon and a 7.62mm coaxially mounted machine gun.

An EOS R400 four-axis remote weapons station is also mounted on the turret roof and can be fitted with a range of weapons including machine guns or an automatic grenade launcher.

Grant Sanderson, CEO of the Defense Systems division at Electro Optic Systems, told Defense News that the coronavirus pandemic has slowed efforts to integrate the turret, pointing out that having to fly engineers between Australia, Israel and South Korea has been a challenge.

However, the lethality testing of the integrated turret is continuing and is expected to culminate in a live-fire demonstration of the turret with Australian optics and systems in August.

The Redback is also designed with ride comfort in mind, with rubber tracks and independent suspension in lieu of more common metal running gear and torsion bar suspension. Hanwha added that noise reduction measures has also meant it is possible to conduct conversations in the troop compartment, even when the vehicle is moving.

Mike Yeo is the Asia correspondent for Defense News.

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