Australian Artillery Moving Ahead.
Installation of command, control, communication, and computer systems into Australian artillery is poised to commence, with the initial batch of Australian Type AS9 and AS10 Huntsman artillery units in South Korea. These systems, vital for Protected Mobile Fires capability alignment with the Army’s C4 Force Structure, have been delivered and are ready for integration.
As part of the project, tactical communication systems and related components will be integrated, ensuring seamless interoperability within the joint force and coalition partners. Notably, the transfer of CORTEX software development source code and expertise from Europe to KDAu is a key aspect of the initiative.
In November of the current year, the Australian Defence Force conducted a test firing of the AS9 Huntsman self-propelled howitzer, equipped with a C4 system, at Port Wakefield in South Australia. This demonstration, overseen by the Joint Proof and Experimental Unit, marked a significant step in confirming the AS9’s role in the protected mobile fire systems category, complementing the in-service M777 155mm lightweight towed howitzer artillery.
The LAND 8116 Protected Mobile Fires project also involves the integration of the Army’s existing 155mm ammunition into AS9 and AS10 units. The joint fire interoperability achieved through this integration reinforces Australia’s collaborative approach with coalition partners.
Looking ahead, the Australian-variant AS9 Huntsman is anticipated to be manufactured at a new Hanwha Defence Australia facility near Avalon in Victoria. The construction plan includes 30 AS9 Huntsman units and 15 AS10 armoured ammunition resupply vehicles. Elphinstone, situated on the north coast of Tasmania, will play a role in the manufacturing process by producing the hulls and turrets. The first AS9 is scheduled to be completed in Australia, rolling out by the end of 2025.
Beyond the overseas testing, additional trials will be conducted in Australia, with a specific focus on assessing the vehicle’s protection against small arms fire and shrapnel. This comprehensive testing regimen underscores the commitment to ensuring the reliability and effectiveness of the Australian artillery system in diverse operational scenarios.