Hanwha Defense shortlisted for Australian SPH project
- Assessment for 30 K9 SPHs, 15 K10 AARVs to proceed ahead of final contract
- Vehicles to be produced in Geelong in support of Australian industrial capability
The K9 Self-Propelled Howitzer (SPH), developed by
South Korea’s Hanwha Defense, has been selected as the preferred solution for
the Australian Army’s Protected Mobile Fires project.
On September 3, the Australian Government announced
it will release a request for tender to preferred supplier Hanwha Defense
Australia (HDA) to build and maintain 30 K9 SPHs and 15 K10 armoured ammunition
resupply vehicles (AARVs), along with their supporting systems. The K10 AARV is an enhanced version of the
existing K10 ARV in terms of armour protection.
HDA is set to submit a tender in response to the SPH procurement program, codenamed Land 8116, which has a budget of up to AUD $1.3 billion.
“This is a
tremendous outcome for our company and we very much appreciate the Commonwealth
placing their trust in Hanwha for this opportunity,” said Richard Cho, managing
director of HDA. “By beginning this journey with Hanwha, the Commonwealth will
reap the benefits of being part of a global community of more than 2,400
K9/K10 SPH systems worldwide with all of the sustainment, training, and global
supply opportunities that this will bring.”
As part of efforts to help expand the Australian defense industrial base, Hanwha Defense is committed to building the vehicles in the Geelong region and growing local skills, Cho said, adding the envisioned Geelong facility is expected to serve as an alternative sustainment and supply chain base for the global K9 family of vehicles.
“This is a different approach to just building and exporting, which given the increasing trend of localization being demanded globally,” the managing director said. “With this Government announcement, work will commence immediately to implement our plan for the building of facilities and skilling of the local Geelong based work force.”
The project is expected to create up to 350
jobs to build and maintain the new vehicles, providing significant
opportunities in other areas such as transport and warehousing, as well as
component manufacture and repair.
The transfer of IP and know -how to enable Australian Industry to, in the long term, allow for local design, engineering and manufacturing will be the most essential part of plans focused on developing the industrial base required for a sovereign capability.
Hanwha plans to develop the “Huntsman” family of vehicles comprising of the K9 SPH and K10 AARV to deliver a complete mission. The SPH is a 52 calibre, 155 mm platform capable of taking advantage of current and emerging 155mm munitions technologies. It has a crew of 4 or 5 depending on the configuration with an ammunition capacity of up to 48 rounds and accompanying modular charge systems.
The K10 AARV is a largely robotized system built on the same chassis as the K9. It holds 104 rounds of 155mm ammunition and is designed to provide ammunition resupply under armour and forward to the Artillery unit.
“The latest decision by the Australian Government to consider acquisition of K9 SPHs as the preferred solution is evident of the systems excellent performance around the world and the faith that the Commonwealth of Australia has placed in Hanwha Defense Australia to deliver this new capability to the Australian Army,” Hanwha Defense CEO Lee Sung-soo said. “In close cooperation with the Commonwealth of Australia, we intend to establish a significant manufacturing base in the Geelong region which will build the K9 and K10 fleets and provide a sovereign support capability for the whole life of the Huntsman fleet.”
Leveraging its accumulated knowledge, experience and competitiveness in key technologies, Hanwha Defense has set new standards for the global defense industry by offering a huge lineup of products ranging from world-renowned artillery systems; armored vehicles with outstanding mobility and adaptability; air defense systems with state-of-the-art technology; and unmanned ground systems utilizing innovative technologies to deliver optimized solutions for future battlefields.