$1 billion defence contract, sovereign defence manufacturing facility in Geelong

December 13, 2021

The Australian Government has announced a $1 billion defence contract for new Self-Propelled Howitzers for the Australian Army has been awarded to Hanwha Defense Australia. The formalising of the deal delivers on a commitment by the government to revive the Howitzer program and bring it to Geelong.

The contract, jointly signed by Prime Minister Scott Morrison and President Moon Jae-in of the Republic of Korea today, will procure Self-Propelled Howitzers and Armoured Ammunition Resupply Vehicles under the LAND 8116 Phase 1 project.

“The contract with Hanwha demonstrates the value of industrial collaboration in supporting our countries’ mutual security challenges,” Prime Minister Morrison said.

Partnering with Hanwha to create an Armoured Vehicle Centre of Excellence in the Geelong region will establish a further strategic defence industry hub and future export opportunities for Australian businesses.

The contract, securing Geelong’s place as front and centre of Australia’s defence industry, will create a minimum of 300 jobs spread across facility construction, acquisition and maintenance, as well as generating ongoing support opportunities for Australian industry until the late 2040s.

Senator for Victoria, Sarah Henderson said, “This project is testament to our government’s commitment to Australian defence industry and sovereign manufacturing as well as nation’s defence capability.”

Chair of Geelong Manufacturing Council, Lyn George, said “This is a great day for Geelong. The signing of this contract will bolster our manufacturing supply chain and provide a significant advanced manufacturing skills augmentation for the region.”

Minister for Defence, the Hon Peter Dutton MP, said this initial contract covers 30 Self-Propelled Howitzers, 15 Armoured Ammunition Resupply Vehicles, and weapon locating radars that help find enemy artillery, collectively referred to as the Huntsman family of vehicles.

“The Self-Propelled Howitzer capability, including a strengthened industrial base, is one of several projects that will modernise the Australian Army, ensuring it continues to maintain a capability advantage now, and into the future.

“This new capability will give our soldiers the best possible chance of completing their missions and returning home safe to their families.”

Minister for Defence Industry Melissa Price said investment in Australia’s domestic industrial base enhances our ability to sustain critical defence capabilities and further positions Australia as an exporter of military equipment and technology to our allies.

“The new facility will create hundreds of local jobs and become a national asset for military capability, supporting land combat vehicles for the Australian Army,” Minister Price said.

“Australian industry will play a vital role delivering and sustaining the Huntsman capabilities at the new facility.”