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Australian Army tests AS9 howitzer

The Australian Army has tested an AS9 155 mm SPH at a government testing facility in South Korea. The image above shows an AS9 from an Indian Army exercise in November 2022. The AS9 is known as K-9 Vajra T in India. (Janes/Kapil Kajal)

The Australian Army has test-fired three artillery rounds from an AS9 Huntsman 155 mm/52 calibre self-propelled howitzer (SPH) at a government testing facility in South Korea, the Australian Department of Defence (DoD) said on 3 July.

The DoD said the test validated the AS9's automated loading capabilities. Hanwha is working with the Australian Defence Force (ADF) to equip the AS9 with Australian-manufactured 155 mm shells including the Rheinmetall Assegai 155 mm artillery munitions, the DoD added.

Major Brendan Kelleher of the project team under the DoD's Land 8116 protected mobility fires programme said the tests ensured the combination of Australian ammunition and a Korean cannon was safe for service.

“While we know in isolation the AS9's cannon is safe and in isolation the ammunition is safe, this testing makes sure they are compatible,” Maj Kelleher said.

Subsequent tests will collect ballistics data required to use the AS9 with the Advanced Field Artillery Tactical Data System used to calculate and co-ordinate firing, the DoD said.

The DoD said additional testing will be conducted in Australia, which will focus on the protection of the vehicle from small-arms fire and shrapnel.

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.

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