Australia: self-propelled howitzers possibly reconsidered for Land 17 Phase 2 programme


The plan for the acquisition of self-propelled howitzers (SPH) was abandoned for budget reasons, a few more M-777 howitzers being added instead, Katherine Ziesing reminds in Australian Defence Magazine. But it seems the purchase of some SPHs might be reconsidered.


Australia self propelled howitzers possibly reconsidered for Land 17 Phase 2 programme
South Korean army K9 Thunder 155mm self-propelled howitzer at DX Korea 2018 defense exhibition (Picture source: Army Recognition)


The Rheinmetall PzH 2000 is a German SPH that could be a relevant challenger, while the AS-9 was newer, cheaper but came from an unknown partner. Recent conflicts where tanks and direct/indirect fire support have changed the rules of the game, now favor the argument for adding SPHs to the Australian Defence Force (ADF) artillery. Should 30 be the figure taken into consideration, how would they be split?, Katherine Ziesing questions. Phase 3 of Land 400 also needs to be considered in this regard.

Back in 2012, Raytheon worked with Samsung Techwin on the K-9 offer. Hanwha has since bought that company and is looking to prime their own bids in Australia. Why would Hanwha team with Raytheon on a $1 billion program for SPHs when they are looking to prime a $10 billion program in their own right with various iterations of K-9s already sold to numerous European nations since 2012?

The government wants an Australian prime in charge. How is Raytheon Australia or any other local outfit of a foreign-owned prime any different from Hanwha Australia in this case?, Katherine Ziesing questions. It’s simply a matter of size and scale: Hanwha is where Northrop Grumman was 10-15 years ago. "Hanwha Defence Australia’s Proposal to the Australian Army submitted in late 2018 for the provision of 30 K9 Thunder SPHs and 15 K10 ammunition resupply vehicles was the catalyst for this Government announcement and will be the basis moving forward directly with the Commonwealth as an Australian prime."

On the other side, the PzH 2000 is a Rheinmetall supported product. Given Rheinmetall Defence Australia’s huge investment in southeast Queensland for their MILVECOE, no doubt the German powerful manufacturer intends to play its card.


 

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