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Hanwha Defense Australia has signed a contract with the country to supply its HUNTSMAN AS9 self-propelled artillery system to the Australian Army, the company writes in a press release. This is reportedly the first major defence acquisition by Australia from an Asian defence prime contractor. The procurement is part of Defence project LAND 8116 Phase 1 which will see the acquisition of 30 AS9 HUNTSMAN self-propelled howitzers and 15 AS10 armoured resupply vehicles.

The vehicles will be manufactured in Australia at a new Hanwha facility to be constructed in the Greater Geelong area of Victoria. Australian companies involved with Hanwha on local manufacture and support of the new Howitzers include:

  • Kongsberg Defence Australia
  • ElmTek
  • Penske Australia
  • HIFraser
  • CBG Systems
  • TAE Aerospace
  • Bisalloy Steels
  • Thales Australia
  • Sigma Bravo
  • Elphinstone Pty Ltd

With the AS9 HUNTSMAN, Hanwha is offering a proven 52-calibre 155mm gun system that is in-service with multiple nations around the world including the NATO Alliance, according to Hanwha. The AS10 Armoured Ammunition Resupply Vehicle is a highly protected ammunition resupply vehicle with a loading system that reduces risk to soldiers from enemy fire.

The Republic of Korea’s Army has offered to work with the Australian Army to share their experience to help expedite development and growth of local expertise in the self-propelled howitzer capability. Construction of the new Hanwha manufacturing facility is scheduled to commence in the second quarter of 2022 and take 24 months to complete. Production of the AS9 HUNTSMAN self-propelled howitzers is scheduled to commence in the fourth quarter of 2024.