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Australia test-fires AS9 Huntsman self-propelled howitzer

An Australian Army AS9 Huntsman self-propelled howitzer test-fires a practice round at the Proof and Experimental Establishment in Port Wakefield. (Commonwealth of Australia)

The Australian Army test-fired artillery rounds from an AS9 Huntsman 155 mm/52 calibre self-propelled howitzer (SPH) at the Proof and Experimental Establishment in Port Wakefield in late November, the Australian Department of Defence (DoD) said in a press release on 5 December.

According to the DoD, this testing – overseen by the Joint Proof and Experimental Unit (JPEU) – was aimed at showcasing the AS9 Huntsman to project stakeholders.

The service fired “hundreds of 155 mm shells” in the drill to verify the ammunition and propellant types, the DoD said.

Nicholas Windridge, master gunner warrant officer from the JPEU, said in the press release that while in-service M777s had maximum ranges of 18 to 22 km, the AS9 could potentially reach up to 60 km.

The Australian DoD signed a contract worth AUD1 billion (USD665 million) with Hanwha Defense Australia (HDA) in 2021 to supply 30 AS9 155 mm SPHs and 15 AS10 armoured ammunition resupply vehicles (AARVs) under the Land 8116 Phase 1 programme. The two platforms are collectively known as the ‘Huntsman' family of vehicles.

The deliveries will commence from 2025, the DoD said.

Lieutenant Colonel Hugh Smith, project manager of Land 8116 Phase 1 programme, said initial testing would conclude by year's end, with range and accuracy trials scheduled for 2024 at the Yuma Proving Ground in Arizona.

“At this stage, 4 Regiment [Royal Australian Artillery] will be accepting the capability into service, replacing their M777s with the SPHs,” he said.

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