The firms have signed a teaming agreement for the manufacture of vehicle hulls for the Redback infantry fighting vehicle.
The Redback, designed by South Korea headquartered Hanwha Defense, is under consideration by the Commonwealth under an ongoing tender process for Project LAND 400 Phase 3, which is an $18 billion to $27 billion project tasked to acquire up to 450 infantry fighting vehicles for the Australian Defence Force.
As part of the teaming agreement, Elphinstone will bring over 45 years of experience in advanced equipment manufacturing for the global mining industry to the partnership. The family-owned business based in Burnie, Tasmania, will focus on hull structure fabrication and machining for the Redback vehicles.
Elphinstone's reputable manufacturing track record in advanced manufacturing for the global underground, surface mining and rail industries made the Aussie SME a stand-out contender to win the teaming agreement with Hanwha.
According to Richard Cho, managing director of Hanwha Defense Australia, the "on-time delivery of top-quality equipment" are significant cultural similarities between the two entities. The teaming agreement between Elphinstone and Hanwha is also open to opportunities that will allow the Aussie SME to participate in other Hanwha Defense programs in Australia and overseas, which can potentially include opportunities outside the Defence sector.
“Hanwha will help expand Australia’s defence industry base through our involvement with Elphinstone, and we will also introduce them to other parts of the broader Hanwha Group which may also benefit from Elphinstone’s proven manufacturing capabilities,” Cho said.
Elphinstone has been exporting heavy vehicles to remote locations across the globe for over 40 years and working with Hanwha through the teaming agreement can position the local company to expand business beyond Australia and the Defence sector.
Kelly Elphinstone, executive director of the Elphinstone Group, is optimistic about the future opportunities agreement with Hanwha: “Australia’s growing defence industry sector represents an opportunity to further diversify and strengthen our manufacturing business.
"Our significant heavy vehicle design and manufacturing expertise lends itself perfectly to these Commonwealth Land programs and we are excited to have secured this opportunity with Hanwha.
“I am a firm believer that manufacturing remains viable in Australia.”
The production of the large, armoured steel structures for the Redback vehicles will require significant investment in new specialist plant and equipment.
The work to be completed by Elphinstone for the Redback program, along with other projects under this teaming agreement, is expected to create substantial long-term employment opportunities in the local region.