Plasan from Israel to provide armor solutions for Australian Hanwha Huntsman AS9 155mm howitzers

It has been a year that the contract for LAND 8116 Protected Mobile Fires program was signed by the leaders of Australia and South Korea. Plasan of Israel and Hanwha Defense Australia are working together on LAND 8116 to ensure the highest quality survivability systems are delivered to protect the Australian Army’s Hanwha AS9 Huntsman self-propelled howitzers.
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AS9 Huntsman self-propelled howitzer for the Australian Army (Picture source: Hanwha Defense Australia)

The protection solution consists of fixed and dismountable components that protect the vehicles and crew against a wide range of threats, in accordance with the customer's requirements. The Huntsman protection solution delivers a capability and schedules a critical part of the LAND 8116 project scope. This project will deliver 30 AS9 Huntsman self-propelled howitzers to complement Army’s existing M777 towed howitzers, as well as support systems.

Building on the original contract around design, modelling and simulation, and testing of the protection solution for the AS9 Huntsman self-propelled howitzers, both companies have now implemented the contract change to include the production and delivery scope. The contract change was signed in Seoul earlier in November 2022 by Dan Ziv, Plasan’s CEO, and Richard Cho, Managing Director of Hanwha Defense Australia. With this contract change, the protection solution moves from design to production, further cementing the strong partnership between Hanwha Aerospace companies and Plasan.

Both phases of LAND 8116 will include supporting Armoured Ammunition Resupply Vehicles, which will also be built in Geelong. Compared to existing resupply vehicles, the Armoured Ammunition Resupply Vehicles will offer far higher protection for the resupply crew and shorter reloading time through the use of an automated ammunition transfer system. The Armoured Ammunition Resupply Vehicles share common components with the protected mobile fire platforms, meaning the same skilled workforce in the sovereign and enduring Geelong facility can build them and undertake deep maintenance.

LAND 8116 Phase 1 is a revival of the previously cancelled LAND 17 Phase 2 self-propelled artillery project which was originally proposed by the Howard Coalition government in the 2006 Defence Capability Plan (DCP), before being delayed and then cancelled by the Gillard Labor government in 2012 as part of wider-ranging defence funding cuts. “We are ensuring Australian companies are participating in projects which develop and maximise Australia’s defence base. The LAND 8116 project secures support and maintenance opportunities for Australian industry beyond 2050”, Minister for Defence Industry Melissa Price said in July 2020.

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The Armoured Ammunition Resupply Vehicles share common components with the AS9 Huntsman (Picture source: Hanwha Defense Australia)