Australia has for the first time issued a major military deal to an Asian country. 

Hanwha Defence Australia, a subsidiary of the Korean industrial giant Hanwha, has been chosen to supply the Australian Army with 129 AS21 Redback Infantry Fighting Vehicles (IFVs). 

The decision, which marks the first major defence contract awarded to an Asian company in Australia's history, came after a fierce competition with Rheinmetall Defence Australia's KF41 Lynx IFV.

Announcing the selection of Hanwha, Defense Industry Minister Pat Conroy said; “After careful consideration, the Government has selected Hanwha Defence Australia as the preferred tenderer to build 129 Infantry Fighting Vehicles”.

The vehicles, which are set to be constructed in Australia at Geelong, will replace the ageing Vietnam-era M113AS4 Armored Personnel Carriers (APCs) currently in service.

The AS21 Redback, packed with modern communication systems, advanced weaponry, and superior armour protection, was chosen for its outstanding performance during the comprehensive Risk Mitigation Activity (RMA). 

During the RMA, both the AS21 Redback and the KF41 Lynx were rigorously tested, culminating in a controlled explosion to showcase their mine and improvised explosive device protection capabilities.

The deal with Hanwha is valued at up to $7 billion and will allegedly create a significant boost to the Australian economy, supporting around 500 direct and 1,000 indirect jobs in the defence industry. 

The selection is also aimed at strengthening the ties between Australia and Korea.