Shown above is Hanwha Aerospace’s K9A2 Self-Propelled Howitzer platform fitted with the Composite Rubber Track developed by Soucy Defense. The howitzer will be disclosed during the DSEI 2023 at Excel, London, which will take place during Sept. 12 and 15. Photo courtesy of Hanwha Aerospace

Korean defense giant will show off technological edge at DSEI 2023

Hanwha Aerospace announced on Sept. 11 that the South Korean firm would demonstrate its extensive range of defense technologies at the DSEI 2023 this week at ExCel, London.

In particular, the Seoul-based outfit plans to unveil its K9A2 Self-Propelled Howitzer (SPH) platform fitted with the Composite Rubber Track (CRT) developed by Soucy Defense during the four-day event, which will run through Sept. 15.

Hanwha said that the new platform was a key milestone for developing a British variant of K9A2, meeting the requirements of the UK Mobile Fires Platform (MFP) program.

The K9A2 builds upon the key battle-winning components from the proven K9A1, which accounts for over 50 percent of the global SPH market with over 1,800 platforms already in service, to deliver enhanced levels of lethality and survivability, according to Hanwha.

The Korean defense giant noted that central to these enhancements was a fully automated turret and the integration of composite rubber tracks.

“CRT is one of the key innovative technologies to be featured on the British K9A2, enabling greater all-weather terrain accessibility for shoot-and-scoot operations, alongside reduced noise, vibration, maintenance, and fuel consumption to enhance operational mobility,” Hanwha Aerospace UK Vice President Simon Humphrey CBE said.

“CRT is a game changer and makes huge strides in closing the gap between the oft-heard Wheels vs. Track polarizing debate.”

Hanwha Aerospace is currently leading Team Thunder UK, which is an international partnership involving a group of highly accomplished UK defense manufacturers brought together to build and supply a cutting-edge mobile fire capability to the British Army in response to its MFP requirement.

The team includes Lockheed Martin UK; Leonardo UK; Pearson Engineering; Horstman Defense Group; and Soucy Defense.

Hanwha Defense Australia also joined Team Thunder to maximize the synergies and opportunities with the AS9 Huntsman program, alongside their recently announced success of the Redback Infantry Fighting Vehicle.

Given the similarities between the two Five Eyes nations, Hanwha is working hard to leverage the work being done on LAND 8116 into the MFP program.

Hanwha Aerospace intends to grow Team Thunder further with the inclusion of more UK SMEs and more technology companies to generate direct and further wealth for the UK, with at least 50 percent of the manufacturing of the British K9A2 version to the UK industry.

“Team Thunder is committed to creating a highly skilled industrial base by generating hundreds of brand-new specialist jobs in the supply chain as well as local training programs for graduates and apprentices,” Hanwha Aerospace Director Sun Wi said.

“The purchase of K9A2 will lead to export work for Team Thunder in the UK, as K9 users such as Finland, Norway, and Estonia will need to upgrade to A2 standard and beyond with significant opportunities for export and cost-sharing across the user base.”

Unwavering commitment to UK

As part of Hanwha Aerospace’s commitment to UK MOD and partnering with UK industry, it has established Hanwha Aerospace UK.

“The establishment of Hanwha Aerospace UK is now complete, and the presence of Hanwha Aerospace’s top leadership from across South Korea, Europe, US, and Australia at DSEI 2023 is the evidence of Hanwha’s strong desire to build new partnerships, evolve existing relationships, and broaden its delivery of the highest quality technology and capabilities at a time of high global demand,” said Simon, a retired Major General of the British Army.

He presently serves as Vice President of Business Development and Strategy in UK.

Hanwha Aerospace CEO Jaeil Son made clear his desire to build a strong partnership with the UK through a program of Investment and Involvement with UK MOD and UK industry partners.

This will include a range of ambitious initiatives to conduct collaborative R&D, support academia, and contribute to the growth of key skills, particularly around STEM, short for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics.

“South Korea has a strong partnership with the UK at a national level, and as a leading aerospace and defense group in Korea, Hanwha Aerospace will make every effort to broaden partnerships with UK MOD and industry partners through investment and involvement in the UK defense ecosystem,” Son said.

Hanwha Aerospace’s commitment to Investment and Involvement within the UK Defense Sector, alongside any success of the Team Thunder UK initiative, is expected to help broaden the realm of industrial cooperation between Hanwha Group and UK partners over a wide range of sectors, including aerospace, shipbuilding, communications, and energy solutions, as Hanwha operates a wide variety of subsidiaries for those markets.

Hanwha is ranked as the seventh largest company in South Korea and a Fortune 500 company, operating in the business areas of aerospace, defense, energy, materials, finance, retail, and services.

The publisher studied Korean history in Seoul and management of business administration in the United Kingdom. He has 20-year experiences in the media business. Kim can be reached at voc200@gmail.com or 82-2-6956-6698.