The winner of Australia’s multi-billion-dollar infantry fighting vehicle (IFV) project will need to wait until next year before being announced.

South Korea’s Hanwha Defense and Germany’s Rheinmetall were both informed of the delay in the announcement of the LAND 400 Phase III project award.

The Australian government said it will wait for the findings of the Defence Strategic Review (DSR) before rendering its final decision.

The DSR is tasked with making recommendations on Canberra’s defense spending priorities to address various security challenges.

Defense industry minister Pat Conroy said it is important to consider the decision of the DSR before proceeding with the procurement of up to $27 billion.

“The government remains focused on Australia’s future defense capability,” the minister said. “We don’t want to pre-empt the findings of the Review, which is especially critical given the rapidly changing strategic circumstances facing our nation.”

The findings of the DSR are due to be submitted early next year, causing the unexpected delay, which was scheduled for this year.

LAND 400 Phase III Project

The Land 400 Phase III is the most expensive acquisition program in the Royal Australian Army’s history.

Its budget was initially set at $10-15 billion in 2015 but increased to $18-27 billion.

The initiative seeks to acquire up to 450 next-generation IFVs to replace the army’s aging M113 armored personnel carriers.

Hanwha is pitching its Redback IFV equipped with an active protection system, while Rheinmetall is offering its Lynx KF41 vehicle featuring the digital Lance turret.

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