The Morrison Government has announced a $1 billion defence contract for new Self-Propelled Howitzers for the Australian Army has been awarded to Hanwha Defense Australia. The contract signing was witnessed by Prime Minister Scott Morrison and President Moon Jae-in of the Republic of Korea today.

Based in Greater Geelong, the contract will procure Self-Propelled Howitzers and Armoured Ammunition Resupply Vehicles, under the LAND 8116 Phase 1 project. The Government committed to this project in May 2019.

“Our Comprehensive Strategic Partnership with the Republic of Korea is underpinned by our joint commitment to defence and security cooperation. The contract with Hanwha demonstrates the value of industrial collaboration in supporting our countries in addressing mutual security challenges,” Prime Minister Morrison said.

“We are partnering with Hanwha to create an Armoured Vehicle Centre of Excellence in the Geelong region, which will establish a further strategic defence industry hub and future export opportunities for Australian businesses.

“This contract will create a minimum of 300 jobs spread across facility construction, acquisition and maintenance, as well as generating ongoing support opportunities for Australian industry until the late 2040s.

“My Government is securing Geelong’s place as front and centre of Australia’s defence industry.

“Australians know they can trust my Government to make the necessary decisions to secure Australia’s interests in an increasingly uncertain world, unlike Labor who delayed this project in government and then cancelled it when they took defence spending to its lowest level since before the Second World War.”

Minister for Defence, the Hon Peter Dutton MP, said this initial contract covers 30 Self-Propelled Howitzers, 15 Armoured Ammunition Resupply Vehicles, and weapon locating radars that help find enemy artillery, collectively referred to as the Huntsman family of vehicles.

“The prime ability of the new vehicles is to fire and move quickly, avoiding enemy counter-attack. This project will mean a significant increase in the level of firepower and security for Australian artillery capability,” Minister for Defence Peter Dutton said.

“We are committed to keeping our region safe, while protecting our interests in a rapidly changing global environment.

“The Self-Propelled Howitzer capability, including a strengthened industrial base, is one of several projects that will modernise the Australian Army, ensuring it continues to maintain a capability advantage now, and into the future.

“This new capability will give our soldiers the best possible chance of completing their missions and returning home safe to their families.”

Minister for Defence Industry Melissa Price said investment in Australia’s domestic industrial base enhances our ability to sustain critical defence capabilities and further positions Australia as an exporter of military equipment and technology to our allies.

“The new facility will create hundreds of local jobs and become a national asset for military capability, supporting land combat vehicles for the Australian Army,” Minister Price said.

“Australian industry will play a vital role delivering and sustaining the Huntsman capabilities at the new facility. The announcement of this significant contract and the future facility is tremendous news for Victoria and working Australians, as well as defence companies across the country.”

Work on the new facility is expected to commence in 2022.

Imagery of the project is available at https://innovatehub.sharepoint.com/:f:/s/mediahub/EhqUjZ--HGxBpI7b-UNtV9UB7uv5J7pm3gQKAlbSPHXJuA?e=oflQc0