Hanwha Group has expressed strong interest in investment and business opportunities in the Australian market based on the growing defence partnership between South Korea and Australia. The move comes on the heels of a major defence contract signed between Hanwha Defense Australia, a defence business affiliate of Hanwha Defense and the Hanwha Group, and the Commonwealth to produce 30 AS9 Huntsman Self-Propelled Howitzers and 15 AS10 Armoured Ammunition Resupply Vehicles in Geelong, Victoria, under the project LAND 8116 phase 1.
Valued US$785 million, the AS9 deal marked the first time Australia has acquired major defense equipment from an Asian nation, and has the potential to help evolve the Seoul-Canberra relationship to a more comprehensive strategic partnership. Hanwha Group is in discussions to set up a bilateral business channel with the Victorian government to address potential business cooperation and investment opportunities. Tentatively named “Hanwha Forum,” the initiative is expected to begin during the first half of this year.
A number of Hanwha’s subsidiaries are keen to participate in the forum to promote their respective business portfolios and explore mutually beneficial business opportunities. For the engineering and construction sector, Hanwha is expected to share its experience and know-how of complex development projects and urban development, while Hanwha’s space and satellite business arms can tap opportunities to collaborate on Urban Air Mobility (UAM), as well as satellite internet services.
In the defence sector, Hanwha Defense is interested in cooperating with the Victorian government for the UK Mobile Fires Platform project, aimed at acquiring advanced self-propelled howitzers, by utilising the armoured vehicles centre of excellence to be constructed in Geelong, which could serve as a hub for activities in Europe and other parts of the world. In addition, ammunition plants and guided weapons would be topics for future defense cooperation, while Hanwha’s CCTV camera technology is expected to gain strong attention from the Australian industry. Hanwha Group also has expertise in finance, chemicals, and advanced materials to offer to Australian industrial partners.
“Hanwha and Australia have already forged a relationship based on mutual trust and friendship through defence business projects, and I think both parties have much to gain from further cooperation in other business sectors,” said Richard Cho, Managing Director of Hanwha Defense Australia. “The opportunities are significant for the Australian economy with the creation of hundreds of jobs and tens of millions of dollars in economic activity possible.”
Hanwha supports Australian armoured vehicle batteries
Australian-made battery systems will be tested in the Hanwha Redback Infantry Fighting Vehicle to enable ongoing development of the system. Hanwha aspires to incorporate this critical enabling technology as an option in its current and future programs. A key objective is to develop an Australian-made solution that can be sold to other Defence vehicle primes and user communities in Australia and overseas, filling a capability gap in Australia’s sovereign industry.
EDEA Energy (previously known as Edison Projects Defence) is the first company to sign up to the project. EDEA Energy will provide batteries to Hanwha and take part in the Redback’s mobility test in the Republic of Korea the first quarter of 2023. It is anticipated that other companies will join future phases of the project.
“We are excited to work with EDEA Energy to explore the opportunity concerning Australian-made batteries in armoured vehicles,” said Richard Cho, Managing Director of Hanwha Defense Australia. “The potential for gains in sovereign capability in crucial components is significant. I have a big aspiration to support retaining the manufacturing capability in Australia, which can combat the global supply chain issue due to the pandemic or another crisis. We can help them further expand its applications to other area beyond defence within the broader Hanwha group”
“I am pleased that EDEA Energy is able to work closely with Hanwha to further commercialise our technology,” said Mark Standford, Director of EDEA Energy’s defence projects. “We will not only develop and manufacture the battery package but also utilise Australian-made battery cells. “We are confident we can help Hanwha supply a high performance, safe, Australian made battery to the Australian Defence Force.”