The Australian government of Prime Minister Anthony Albanese is about to make drastic cuts to Australian AFV procurement amid an assertion that defence programmes announced since 2020 under the prime ministership of Scott Morrison are underfunded by 24% over the next four years.
In its response to Australia’s Defence Strategic Review (DSR), which it received in February 2023, the Albanese government will slash the procurement of infantry fighting vehicles (IFVs) from 450 to 129 and cancel a planned second regiment of self-propelled howitzers (SPHs), ABC News reported on 21 April 2023.
The IFVs are being procured under the Land 400 Phase 3 programme to replace the Australian Army’s M113 armoured personnel carriers. Hanwha Defense Australia (HDA), offering the Redback IFV, and Rheinmetall Defence Australia (RDA), offering the Lynx IFV, are currently bidding for this requirement. The two contenders will likely have to revise their bids in light of the reduced number of IFVs to be procured.
Regarding the SPHs, the Australian government awarded an AUD 1 Bn (EUR 0.61 Bn) contract to HDA in December 2021 for 30 K9 SPHs and 15 K10 ammunition resupply vehicles under the Land 8116 Phase 1 programme, but plans for a follow-on order are now being scrapped.
Instead, the Albanese government is expected to accelerate and expand programmes to procure long-range fires (the US High Mobility Artillery Rocket System), land-based maritime strike and medium and heavy landing craft.
Full details of the Australian government’s revised defence plans are expected to be released by Anzac Day, which is 25 April.