The Government of Australia has announced the release of a request for tender for 30 self-propelled howitzers as part of the Protected Mobile Fires project.

The move is part of the government’s efforts to enhance the capabilities of the Australian Defence Force (ADF) while supporting the growth of the local industry.

The request for tender will be released to preferred supplier and local firm Hanwha Defence Australia, which will develop and maintain 30 self-propelled howitzers, 15 armoured ammunition resupply vehicles and supporting systems.

Australian Minister for Defence Linda Reynolds said: “Through this project, this government is delivering the capability army needs while creating local jobs in and around Geelong that will grow our highly skilled workforce.

“This comes at an important time as Victoria deals with its latest outbreak of Covid-19.

“The acquisition of this capability will provide the ADF with the mobility, lethality and protection required to support Joint Force operations in the land domain.”

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By GlobalData

According to the government, the self-propelled howitzers will be built and maintained in the Geelong region. It is expected to create up to 350 jobs.

Australian Minister for Defence Industry Melissa Price said: “This project builds on our efforts to strengthen Australia’s Defence industry capability, and represents a programme of continuous investment well into the next decade in the Geelong region.

“This project is expected to create up to 350 jobs to build and maintain the new vehicles. It will also provide significant opportunities in other areas such as transport and warehousing, as well as component manufacture and repair.”

Recently, the Australian Government increased defence expenditure by A$1bn ($720m) to support the local industry affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.