Avalon will soon be home to a major defence manufacturing facility, bringing more than 300 new jobs to the Geelong region, with support from the Victorian State Government.

Minister for Industry Support and Recovery Martin Pakula on 22 February welcomed Hanwha Defense Australia’s announcement that its $170m Armoured Vehicle Centre of Excellence will be established at the Avalon Airport Industrial Precinct.

“We’re backing Hanwha to make the Geelong region its home because we know it will grow the economy for years to come,” said Pakula. “Victoria continues to lead the way in advanced manufacturing and this state-of-the-art facility in Avalon will create hundreds of jobs and deliver major benefits for local businesses in the supply chain.”

Hanwha will use the new Avalon facility to build self-propelled howitzers to deliver the Commonwealth’s approximately $1bn LAND 8116 program. The investment will strengthen the state’s defence capabilities and create hundreds of highly skilled local jobs in design, engineering and advanced manufacturing. Construction on the 32,000 square metre state-of-the-art facility is expected to start later this year and take two years to complete – creating more than 100 jobs during construction.

Richard Cho, Managing Director of Hanwha Defense Australia, commented: “The Hanwha Armoured Vehicle Centre of Excellence will become the home of Hanwha tracked vehicle operations in Australia and, if successful under the Land 400 phase 3 program, the home of our Redback family of vehicles for both the Australian Defence Force and global markets.”

Victoria’s supply chain will directly benefit from Hanwha setting up in the Geelong region with businesses expected to generate $200m in flow-on investment, more local jobs and export opportunities.

Hanwha Corporation is South Korea’s largest defence company and also operates in other sectors including aerospace, fintech, mining and clean energy. Hanwha Defense Australia was established in 2019 and is headquartered in Melbourne. In January 2021, the Victorian Government signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Hanwha to formalise a long-term partnership to support the establishment of Hanwha’s defence manufacturing operations in the state.

Hanwha is also one of the final two bidders to deliver the Federal Government’s multi-billion LAND 400 Phase 3 Infantry Fighting Vehicle program. If successful, Hanwha will create more than 1,000 jobs in the Geelong region over the next 12 years and an estimated $5.7bn for Victoria’s economy.