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Construction begins on AS9 Huntsman and AS10 resupply vehicle in South Korea

The ceremony held at Hanwha Aerospace's Plant 3 in South Korea. Photo: Hanwha Group.

Production of new artillery and military vehicles for the Australian Defence Force has officially begun in South Korea.

Production of new artillery and military vehicles for the Australian Defence Force has officially begun in South Korea.

Construction of the ADF’s first AS9 'Huntsman' self-propelled howitzer artillery vehicle and AS10 armoured ammunition resupply vehicle commenced at Hanwha Aerospace's Plant 3 in Changwon, South Korea on March 28.

Military personnel from the ADF as well as production managers and engineers from Hanwha Aerospace – Land Systems, a subsidiary of Hanwha Group, attended the official ceremony at the production line. It was also attended by representatives from Australian Capability Acquisition and Sustainment Group.

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“The Australian variant of the K9 Thunder is to be one of the most modernized tracked self-propelled howitzer, featuring enhanced armored protection and firing capability, as the Australian Defence Force is scheduled to deploy 30 AS9s and 15 AS10s under the Land 8116 phase 1 contract signed in 2021,” according to a statement published by Hanwha.

“Following initial production of two AS9s and one AS10 at the Changwon facility, all the other equipment is to be produced in Hanwha Armoured Vehicle Center of Excellence in Geelong, Victoria, as part of efforts to contribute to the economic and industrial growth in the region.”

Hanwha previously showcased a demonstration firing of a K9A1 Self-Propelled Howitzer at Port Wakefield for Department of Defence and Australian Army staff on November 21 last year.

That event followed significant ammunition integration work on test ranges in both the Republic of Korea and Australia, between the Korean Agency for Defense Development, the Joint Proof and Experimental Unit, HDA and Hanwha Aerospace.

“I’m exceptionally proud of the close working relationship we’ve built with our counterparts in defence and Hanwha Aerospace,” according to HDA Specialty Engineering Lead Callum Jensen.

“As the design authority for the AS9 gun system, HDA has united specialty skills and expertise from Australia and South Korea to develop a next generation artillery system with significantly enhanced levels of range and lethality, featuring the same proven 155mm 52cal gun system used in the K9A1.”

As part of LAND 8116 Protected Mobile Fires project, Australian-variant AS9 Huntsman are expected to be constructed at a new Hanwha Defense Australia factory near Avalon in Victoria, with 30 AS9 Huntsmen and 15 AS10 armoured ammunition resupply vehicles to be built in Victoria.

Elphinstone, a company on the north coast of Tasmania, will manufacture the hulls and turrets; with the first AS9 to be completed in Australia and expected to roll out the door by the end of 2025.

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