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The Australian Government has signed a $717m (A$1bn) defence deal with Hanwha Defense Australia.

The deal was signed during a visit by the Republic of Korea’s President Moon Jae-in to meet Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison in Canberra.

Under the terms of the deal, Hanwha Defense Australia will build 30 self-propelled howitzers and 15 armoured ammunition resupply vehicles for Australia.

The contract also includes the delivery of weapon-locating radars which will help to find enemy artillery.

The howitzers and ammunition will be provided as part of the A$1.3bn LAND 8116 Phase One project, which commenced in May 2019.

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By GlobalData

In June this year, Hanwha Defense engaged in negotiations with UK partners as it prepared to participate in the British mobile fires platform (MFP) programme.

Prime Minister Morrison said: “Our comprehensive strategic partnership with the Republic of Korea is underpinned by our joint commitment to defence and security cooperation.

“The contract with Hanwha demonstrates the value of industrial collaboration in supporting our countries in addressing mutual security challenges.

“We are partnering with Hanwha to create an armoured vehicle centre of excellence in the Geelong region, which will establish a further strategic defence industry hub and future export opportunities for Australian businesses.”

The latest contract is expected to create over 300 jobs divided across facility construction, as well as acquisition and maintenance.

These jobs also include creating ongoing support opportunities for the Australian industry into the late 2040s.

Morrison added: “My government is securing Geelong’s place as front and centre of Australia’s defence industry.

“Australians know they can trust my government to make the necessary decisions to secure Australia’s interests in an increasingly uncertain world, unlike Labor who delayed this project in government and then cancelled it when they took defence spending to its lowest level since before the Second World War.”