The Australian Government has announced plan to acquire an additional regiment of Self-Propelled Howitzers (SPH) and supporting vehicles for the Army as part of Defence’s Force Structure Plan 2020.
The announcement builds on the first phase of 30 Protected Mobile Fires (PMF) the Morrison Government committed to in May 2019. The capability will be acquired under a second phase of LAND 8116 and will be built and maintained in Geelong, Victoria.
Minister for Defence Linda Reynolds said this project builds on the Government’s efforts to strengthen Australia’s Defence industry capability.
“The Morrison Government is focused on maximising opportunities for Australian industry and is extremely proud of its commitment to build and sustain this capability in Geelong,” Minister Reynolds said. “This acquisition will double the number of operational platforms being delivered under LAND 8116, providing the Australian Defence Force with a critical artillery capability.”
“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 fires platforms, meaning the same skilled workforce in the sovereign and enduring Geelong facility can build them and undertake deep maintenance.
Minister for Defence Industry Melissa Price said this project represents for the people of Geelong a program of continuous manufacturing well into the next decade.
“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 Price said. “These opportunities will include future mid-life upgrades, harnessing emerging technologies to enhance the protection, firepower and mobility of Australia’s protected mobile fires capability.”
Senator for Victoria Sarah Henderson said this demonstrates the determination of the Morrison Government to support defence vehicle manufacturing jobs for Geelong.
“This commitment to boosting the number of Howitzers to be built and maintained in Geelong, along with the decision to produce a number of Armoured Ammunition Resupply Vehicles, is incredible news for our city,” Senator Henderson said. “The scale of this project cannot be underestimated. Not only will this allow us to develop a major defence manufacturing industry in Geelong, it will drive enormous opportunities for defence suppliers.”