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Hanwha initiates production of Australian Huntsman vehicles

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)

South Korea's Hanwha Aerospace initiated the production of the first AS9 ‘Huntsman' self-propelled howitzer (SPH) and AS10 armoured ammunition resupply vehicle (AARV) for the Australian Army on 28 March at its Changwon facility, the company said in a social media post in late March.

Following initial production of two AS9s and one AS10 at the Changwon facility, all the other vehicles will be produced at the Hanwha Armoured Vehicle Centre of Excellence (H-ACE) in Geelong from late 2024, Hanwha said.

The Australian Army signed a contract worth AUD1 billion (USD652 million) in 2021 with Hanwha Defence Australia (HDA) to supply 30 AS9 155 mm SPHs and 15 AS10 AARVs under its Land 8116 Phase 1 programme.

According to the Australian Department of Defence (DoD), range and accuracy trials of the Huntsman vehicles are scheduled for 2024 at the Yuma Proving Ground, and the delivery of vehicles to the Australian Army will commence from 2025, with final delivery in 2027.

The SPHs will be inducted into the Australian Army's 4 Regiment, Royal Australian Artillery, and they will replace in-service M777 howitzers.

Hanwha has collaborated with various companies to manufacture Huntsman vehicles for the Australian Army. In February 2023 HDA and Sydney-based HIFraser signed a AUD4.4 million contract to supply the Automatic Fire and Explosion Suppression System (AFESS) for Huntsman vehicles.

HIFraser further signed a technology transfer agreement with Busan-based DNB that will allow the former to produce AFESS in Australia.

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