A Request for Tender will shortly be released to preferred supplier Hanwha Defence Australia to build and maintain 30 self-propelled howitzers and 15 armoured ammunition resupply vehicles and their supporting systems.
FILE PHOTO: Hanwha K9 Thunder – possibly called Huntsman in Australia. Photo courtesy Hanwha.
The build was a contentious 2019 Morrison Government election commitment, which is expected to create up to 350 jobs.
The tender will be issued under the LAND 8116 Phase 2 Protected Mobile Fires project.
Minister for Defence Linda Reynolds said issuing the Request for Tender marked a key step in progressing the project.
“Through this project, the government is delivering the capability Army needs while creating local jobs in and around Geelong, Victoria, that will grow Australia’s highly skilled workforce,” Minister Reynolds said.
“This comes at an important time as Victoria deals with its latest outbreak of COVID-19.
“The acquisition of this capability will provide the ADF with mobility, lethality and protection required to support joint force operations in the land domain.
“The self-propelled howitzers will be built in the Geelong region, with ongoing deep maintenance conducted in the same Australian facility to support the systems throughout their service life.
“The Request for Tender will progress this first phase of the Protected Mobile Fires capability.
“Together with subsequent phases announced in the 2020 Force Structure Plan, it will ensure a long-term future for industry’s involvement in the delivery of this critical capability for the ADF.”
Minister for Defence Industry Melissa Price said this project built on Australia’s efforts to strengthen its Defence-industry capability, and represented a program of continuous investment well into the next decade in the Geelong region.
“This project is expected to create up to 350 jobs to build and maintain the new vehicles,” Minister Price said.
“It will also provide significant opportunities in other areas such as transport and warehousing, as well as component manufacture and repair.”
LAND 8116 Phase 2, announced in the 2020 Force Structure Plan, is anticipated to commence in the late 2020s, delivering additional Protected Mobile Fires capability, and LAND 8116 Phase 3 is anticipated to commence in the mid-2030s, delivering a mid-life upgrade that will provide an opportunity to incorporate emerging technologies.