Monday, August 17, 2009

South Korea May Export Self-Propelled Guns to Australia

Chances remain high for Samsung Techwin, teamed with Raytheon of the United States, to win a $450 million deal to provide the Australian army with 155mm self-propelled artillery systems, procurement officials here said. The expectation comes after a consortium led by a German firm, according to an official, failed to participate in final tender negotiations with the Australian government.

Teamed with BAE Systems Australia, the German firm Krauss-Maffei Wegmann was seeking to supply its PZH-2000 guns to the Australian army, which wants to acquire about 18 self-propelled and towed guns. The Samsung-Raytheon team is offering the AS-9 gun, a modified version of the K-9 weapon.

``We're told that the German firm has failed to submit additional documents required by the Australian government,'' an official of the Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA) said, asking not to be named. ``We don't think the German firm will drop out of the competition, but it's true that our team has got the upper hand in negotiations.''

A final bidder is expected to be announced as early as September, he said. Earlier, reports said the Germany firm raised problems with intellectual property as well as a requirement for more equitable risk-sharing in its decision not to take part in negotiations. Developed jointly with the state-funded Agency for Defense Development, the K-9 is an indigenous all-welded steel armor construction rated to withstand impact by 14.5-mm armor piercing shells and 152- mm shell fragments.

It carries a 155 mm/52 caliber gun with a maximum firing range of 40 kilometers. State-of-the-art mobility subsystems include a 1,000-horsepower engine and a hydropneumatic suspension unit, a requirement for Korea's rugged mountainous terrain.

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