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The announcement of the preferred executive contractor for the opening phase of the Australian Land 159 program is expected shortly.

Land 159 (L159) is the next small arms replacement project for the Australian Armed Forces, which is planned to start in 2022. Together with the L4108 Heavy Weapons Replacement (also: L4108 Direct Fire Support Weapons Replacement), it should ensure a significantly higher lethality. Of course, this also directly affects the topic of the integrated soldier system (L125-4) as well as ammunition and training.

By 2030, all of these measures should be completed and mesh.

L159 and L4108 include:

  • New hand weapons
    • Rifles
      • Assault rifles
      • Shotguns
      • Machine guns in the calibres light, medium and heavy
      • Sniper rifles for short, medium and long ranges
    • guns
    • Personal Defense Weapons (PDW), pistols or submachine guns
    • Direct Fire Support Weapon (DFSW) for short, medium and long ranges
  • Grenades
  • Mortar (Light Weight)
  • Grenade Launcher (Light Weight)
  • Command Detonated Munitions
  • Weapon stations (Remote Weapon Systems, RWS)
  • Loitering Munitions
  • Less lethal weapons / ammunition
  • Breaching & entry skills
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Graphic: Australian Department of Defense

A total of 21 weapon systems must therefore be integrated into the soldier systems, battle management systems (BMS), training systems or vehicles. Of course, the appropriate and modernized ammunition can also be obtained with the new weapons. These purchases are divided into three tranches. Tranche 1 deliveries from the end of 2022 / beginning of 2023, tranche 2 from 2025 and tranche 3 from 2027. The evaluation will take place between 2020 and early 2022.

The first night vision systems and optics are to be procured from May 2020.

 

Three possible providers

Three bidders submitted their respective proposals, which included delivery and lifelong support for the upcoming systems. The three providers are Babcock Australia, Nioa and Thales Australia. The Australian Armed Forces place great store in procurement to support the domestic economy and / or to achieve a technology transfer.

In addition to domestic production, other points include how the promised performance is assessed and compliance with the supply chains - even in times of crisis, for example during Corona.

André Forkert