South Korean firm Hanwha Defense announced on Wednesday that the construction of its military vehicle factory in Australia has already commenced.
A groundbreaking ceremony for the Armored Vehicle Centre of Excellence was held in Geelong and attended by Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison.
The facility will manufacture self-propelled howitzers and armored ammunition resupply vehicles for the Australian military.
“This is a great day for Hanwha with work beginning on what will be our first major manufacturing facility outside the Republic of Korea,” Hanwha chief executive officer Jaeil Son said.
The new facility will reportedly deliver a significant economic boost for Geelong, with more than 100 jobs expected to be created during the 24-month construction period.
‘Key Addition’ to Australia’s Defenses
Apart from having multiple vehicle assembly lines, the Armored Vehicle Centre of Excellence will feature a 1,500-meter (4,921 feet) test track, a deep-water test facility, and an obstacle course to ensure that the vehicles function as intended before delivery.
Hanwha managing director Richard Cho said the manufacturing plant would be a “key addition” to Australia’s sovereign defense capability.
“Both countries have much to gain from each other economically, but benefits are especially significant in terms of regional security,” he explained. “The long-standing trust and friendship between Australia and the Republic of Korea is a great asset.”