Shown above is Hanwha Defense’s K9 Thunder self-propelled howitzer. The company exports the advanced howitzers to such countries as India and Norway. Photo courtesy of Hanwha Defense

Korea’s top defense company sees sales jump five-fold

So many companies are struggling to find their feet due to the novel coronavirus this year. But not all players are languishing as amply demonstrated by such firms as South Korea’s Hanwha Defense.

The Seoul-based defense manufacturer said on June 30 that its first-half sales in Korea neared 1.2 trillion won ($1 billion) thanks to its successive contracts with the country’s military.

On June 29, Hanwha Defense signed a 380 billion won deal with the Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA), under which the company will roll out K56 ammunition resupply vehicles (ARVs).

Earlier last week, Hanwha Defense doled out a $252 billion won contract with the DAPA so as to mass-produce a wheeled air defense cannon system.

The 30-mm anti-aircraft gun wheeled vehicle system (AAGW) will replace the country’s Vulcan Air Defense System (VADS). The former has a firing range of 3 kilometers, some 1.6 times longer than the latter.

Overall, Hanwha Defense said that its first-half turnover rocketed almost five-fold from a year ago, and its second-half prospect is also bright, according to the business bellwether.

We could achieve robust performance over the past six months based on employees’ great efforts and close collaboration with our 1,000-plus suppliers,” a Hanwha Defense official said.

For the full year 2020, we would be able to double our sales from a year before because our second-half figure is expected to near 1 trillion won,” he said.

The company also strives to speed up its overseas business, although the negative effect of the virus pandemic lingers across the global defense industry.

Hanwha is supposed to provide 100 units of its K9 Thunder to India by this November. It already supplied 50 units of the advanced self-propelled howitzer in March through its regional partner.

The firm, which is a 100 percent subsidiary of Hanwha Aerospace, also started shipping K9 Thunder to Norway in May.

Market analysts pointed out that Hanwha’s performance is outstanding, in consideration of the difficult situation.

“The novel coronavirus makes so many companies languish. Some are struggling to stay afloat,” an industry source said. “Against this backdrop, Hanwha’s achievements are not small. The company’s performance attracts interests of watchers.”