Participants in Hanwha Defense’s Industry Day pose in front of the K9 self-propelled howitzer in the firm’s Changwon factory on March 17. They are from the Australian partner companies of Hanwha. Photo courtesy of Hanwha Defense

Industry Day held in Changwon to seek strong collaboration

Hanwha Defense said on March 18 that South Korea’s top defense company held an “Industry Day” to enhance partnership with Australian partners.

The Industry Day comes at the end of a week-long delegation of Australian industry in Changwon, some 400 kilometers south of Seoul, learning about Korean manufacturing expertise and experiencing the Korean culture.

Hanwha said that the event was held at Hanwha Defense’s Factory 1, as part of efforts to strengthen cooperation with Australian suppliers with regards to Hanwha’s high-profile localization projects Down Under, such as the LAND 8116 contract signed in December 2021.

Among the Australian delegates were attendees from ANCA Engineering Solutions; Elphinstone Pty Ltd; HiFraser Pty Ltd; and Penske Australia.

Representatives from the Capability Acquisition and Sustainment Group (CASG) and the Australian Army joined the industrial collaboration program.

Changwon-based South Korean suppliers, including STX Engine, SNT Dynamics, and Mottrol, also participated in the event. They have formed relationships with Australian businesses.

“It’s a great honor to host this inaugural Industry Day event for our Australian industry partners,” Hanwha Defense CEO Son Jae-il said in a welcoming speech.

“This is a great opportunity for all of us to improve our partnership further, as Hanwha Defense is fully committed to creating opportunities within Australian defense supply chains, as well as to improving Australia’s military capability.”

Late last year, Hanwha Defense Australia (HDA) signed the LAND 8116 phase 1 contract valued around AUD $1 billion to produce 30 AS9 Self-Propelled Howitzers and 15 AS10 Armored Ammunition Resupply Vehicles for the Australian Defense Force.

To that end, HDA has announced the construction of a state-of-the-art armored vehicles production facility at a 20-hectare site at Avalon Airport in Geelong, Victoria.

During the seminar, South Korean and Australian industry partners exchanged views of maximizing their collaboration over the local manufacturing and supply of key components such as chassis, power-pack, automatic fire suppression systems, and suspension units.

“The Australian delegation have been highly impressed by the Korean companies they have met with this week, including the capability they’ve observed in the factories and the warm welcome and hospitality from the Korean people,” said Millie Keating, Industrial Development Unit (IDU) Manager from Hanwha Defense Australia.

“This week, and the discussion at this seminar today, has reinforced the strength and dedicated in the relationships between our respective nations, which Hanwha Defense sees as critical for our collective global success.”

The industry group was also given opportunities to tour the showroom of Global Campus and production lines where the K9 self-propelled howitzer and other armored vehicles are being manufactured, according to Hanwha.

Son stressed Australia would be a hub for Hanwha Defense’s export bids, making the best use of the Australian industry capability.

“With the very first overseas manufacturing facility in Geelong, Hanwha Defense Australia will be creating jobs within Australia and will make best efforts to become a trusted partner contributing to the local economy,” he said.

“Moreover, the Australian market will serve as a gateway for Hanwha’s defense exports to the Five Eye Nations.”