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The army’s most expensive procurement project to date will be the subject of growing uncertainty.

The ABC has learned that a decision on the winning design for up to 450 new infantry fighting vehicles to replace the army’s armoured personnel carriers, which have been in service for 60 years, has been delayed once more. This has led to renewed speculation that the costly project might be slashed or thrown out.

Major General Jason Blain, the army’s head of armored vehicles, informed German and Korean companies competing for the $18-$27 billion LAND 400 Phase 3 contract that the government was still not going to consider the project.

Military insiders now fear that the Morrison government won’t make a decision on the IFV project until after Labor’s Defence Strategic Review is finished in March of next year, as previously stated.

“We do not comment on cabinet processes,” a spokesperson for Defense Industry Minister Pat Conroy told the ABC.

As a member of parliament’s Defence Committee, Liberal Senator David Van is attending the Land Forces Conference. He stated that he had hoped a decision on the winning design would already be made.

“The Australian Army has been in desperate need of this particular capability for a very, very long time.He continued, “An IFV is very heavily armored; it gets soldiers into the fight next to the tanks, allows them to escape safely, protects them while they are demounted, and then gets them back out of that battle in a very safe way.”

“Do we want to put our troops in danger by having them enter a battle in a Bushmaster or our old M113 armoured personnel carriers if we cancel the IFV order or delay it?”

“Personaly, I’d much rather see our soldiers protected to the highest possible capability, which is an infantry fighting vehicle,”

The three-day conference, which is being held for the second year in a row at Brisbane’s Convention Centre, is expected to be dominated by discussions concerning the future of the multibillion-dollar IFV procurement.

“Disrupt Land Forces” activists have been gathering for several days in preparation to target the 12,000 representatives of the military, government, and industry who are expected to attend the international weapons fair.

Senator David Shoebridge of the Greens is going to Brisbane to join the activists. He will also go to the Land Forces conference to look at the more than 700 companies that are showing off their deadly technology.

“War may frighten the rest of us, but it’s literally like striking gold for these multinational arms manufacturers with their goods on display.”

The Greens’ defense spokesperson stated, “The whole purpose of this industry is to win multi-billion-dollar government contracts from increasingly sophisticated ways of killing people — it’s a twisted, brutal business model on display, and it’s time more politicians stood with peace activists to call it out.” “They use our fear, and at the moment fear from the conflict in Ukraine and fear of conflict with China, to make their fortunes.”

 

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