S.Korea’s Hanwha Pitches Redback IFVs, K9 Howitzers to Romanian Armed Forces

Romania's IFV and howitzer project is expected to cost $3.3B and $920M respectively.
  • Defensemirror.com bureau
  • 06:47 AM, May 23, 2024
  • 813
S.Korea’s Hanwha Pitches Redback IFVs, K9 Howitzers to Romanian Armed Forces
Hanwha Aerospace's booth at BSDA-2024 exhibition in Romania

Hanwha Aerospace, a South Korean defense conglomerate, has extended a proposal to supply Redback Infantry Fighting Vehicles (IFVs) and K9 self-propelled howitzers to the Romanian armed forces.

This move was unveiled at the Black Sea Defense & Aerospace (BSDA) exhibition, hosted in Romania from May 22 to 24. Central to Hanwha's exhibit was the Redback IFV, a combat platform developed in-house, originally intended for the Australian Army. The Redback IFV garners attention within the context of Romania's growing partnership with the AUKUS alliance—comprising the United States, the United Kingdom, and Australia.

Accompanying the Redback IFV, Hanwha Aerospace showcased a comprehensive artillery package featuring the K9 Thunder self-propelled howitzer and its auxiliary K10 ammunition carrier. The K9 system, already in service with several NATO member states including Poland, Turkey, Norway, Finland, and Estonia, presents a compelling option for Romania as it seeks to bolster its armored capabilities.

Hanwha Aerospace underscored the adaptability of its artillery solutions, highlighting the integration potential of its Chunmu multiple-launch guided missile system with legacy Soviet-era rocket projectiles, a feature catering to the diverse needs of Central and Eastern European defense forces.

Additionally, Hanwha emphasized the versatility of its Cheongeom anti-tank missile system, suitable for deployment on various platforms including armored vehicles and unmanned reconnaissance vehicles.

Romania's defense modernization agenda entails a notable increase in defense expenditure, from 2% to 2.5% of its gross domestic product, aimed at reaching approximately $39.9 billion by 2032. The fiscal year 2024 reflects a significant surge in defense spending, with a projected budget increase of nearly 45%, totaling around $20.8 billion, earmarked for substantial weapons acquisitions. Noteworthy among these acquisitions is the Infantry Fighting Vehicle program, expected to procure up to 298 new vehicles valued at $3.3 billion. The contenders vying for this lucrative contract include Hanwha Aerospace's Redback, General Dynamics European Land Systems' Ascod, Rheinmetall's Lynx, and BAE Systems Hägglunds' CV90.

Concurrently, the self-propelled howitzer acquisition program seeks to acquire 54 units alongside support vehicles, equipment, and ammunition, with a procurement value estimated at approximately $920 million. Potential suppliers for this program include Krauss-Maffei Wegmann, Hanwha Aerospace, and BMC. According to local media, the country’s defense ministry favors the K9 Thunder. The expected signing of the howitzer contract is slated for 2024.

In May 2023, the Romanian government finalized a deal to procure 54 American M1A2 Abrams tanks valued at approximately $1 billion. Subsequently, in early July of the same year, it declared its intention to acquire around 300 K-2 "Black Panther" main battle tanks produced by the South Korean firm Hyundai Rotem.

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