Huge defence deal a step closer

A K9 self-propelled howitzer. (Hanwha)

By Luke Voogt

A billion-dollar defence project set to create 350 local jobs has moved a step closer after state government signed an agreement with Korean manufacturer Hanwha on Tuesday.

Industry Support and Recovery Minister Martin Pakula signed a memorandum of understanding with the South Korean company to support its defence manufacturing operations in Victoria.

“Victoria is the home of Australian manufacturing and we are pleased to be working with Hanwha to maximise opportunities for more high-value jobs to be created in Geelong,” he said.

The agreement signals state government support for Hanwha’s plans to build and maintain self-propelled artillery in Geelong and create “high-skilled” local jobs.

Federal government last September announced Hanwha as the sole tenderer for the LAND 8116 project to build at least 30 self-propelled howitzers and 15 armoured resupply vehicles.

Hanwha Defense Australia managing director Richard Cho welcomed this week’s agreement.

“Hanwha is delighted to enter into this memorandum of understanding with the Victorian Government,” he said.

“We see it as a strong platform from which to develop our mutual interests in a range of technologies and to establish an advanced manufacturing facility here in Victoria.”

Hanwha is also one of two final tenderers, along with Rheinmetall in Queensland, for the LAND 400 Phase 3 contract to build infantry fighting vehicles.

If successful Hanwha would build the armoured vehicles – primarily used to protect soldiers and transport them quickly across the battlefield – in Laverton North.

A PWC report commissioned by Hanwha estimated that the LAND 400 Phase 3 manufacturing effort would generate $5.7 billion in total economic impacts in Victoria.

According to state government, the memorandum will strengthen Victoria’s relationship with South Korean industry, driving collaboration and creating opportunities for expanded bilateral trade and investment.

The partnership aims to enable the government and Hanwha to explore investment opportunities in defence and non-defence sectors.

Founded in 1952, Hanwha Corporation has grown into South Korea’s largest defence company and also operates in aerospace, mining, clean energy and other industries.

Victoria’s defence sector contributes $8.4 billion annually to the state’s economy with 6300 small-to-medium businesses working across military vehicle production, maritime design, aerospace components, cyber security and munitions, according to state government.

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