Armoured vehicles and ammunition from South Korea’s leading defence contractor Hanwha Aerospace Co. are in high demand today, not least because the company can deliver them faster and cheaper than US or EU companies. This is reported by Bloomberg.

It is noted that Hanwha has been producing ground weapons for nearly half a century and has never stopped, even as foreign competitors have moved into sixth-generation fighters and UAVs. Until recently, military analysts viewed it as something of a relic and its products as insufficient for 21st century warfare. But the conflict in Ukraine, which is being fought almost entirely on the ground, has shown that the experts were mistaken.

In the two years since the start of the Russian special operation in Ukraine, Hanwha’s annual revenue from arms exports has grown 11-fold to $1.1bn. It now accounts for 26 per cent of the company’s total arms sales. Its shares have risen about 350 per cent. To meet demand, Hanwha hired hundreds of new employees last year (about 700, bringing its workforce to more than 7,000, according to the agency. – ). It also intends to develop an engine for sixth-generation fighter jets, but traditional weapons will remain its core product, Hanwha Aerospace CEO Song Jae-il told Bloomberg News in an interview at the company’s weapons factory in Changwon.

“The U.S. has 40 percent of the world’s defence systems, but it can’t do everything. We are focusing on midships, UAS, armoured vehicles, tanks. In these areas, we are already globally competitive,” Son said.

He said U.S. and most European manufacturers have focused on producing strategic weapons, precision munitions and other advanced technologies; meanwhile, many countries consider these systems prohibitively expensive and are also deterred by the complexity of these weapons, which require extensive retraining. This has opened a window of opportunity for Hanwha’s more traditional products.

“Defence companies in the United States or Europe don’t want to produce these weapons,” said Yoon Sukjun, a retired South Korean Navy captain and senior researcher at the Korea Institute of Military Affairs.

Korean-made weapons “are not the most advanced, but they are something Lockheed Martin and Boeing don’t make,” he noted.

The agency said it has ordered at least 670 K9 self-propelled howitzers and 290 rocket launchers since 2022.

“Hanwha has supplied howitzers to Egypt and ammunition to the UK. If the proposed deal with Romania goes through, it would become the tenth country to buy K9s. Last year, the Korean company beat out German rival Rheinmetall AG to supply 129 tanks to Australia…

Now, as U.S. and European defence contractors struggle to restart or ramp up production, Hanwha offers customers the benefits of uninterrupted production lines, intact supply chains and faster delivery times. Hanwha can assemble its flagship K9 howitzer in about 180 days – two to three times faster than its competitors. With lower overheads, its products are also cheaper. The K9 costs about $3.5 million, about half to one-third the price of global competitors,” the article said.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *