Hanwha Aerospace to bid for Malaysian MRLS program

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Hanwha Aerospace, the largest aerospace and defense company in South Korea, has signed a memorandum of understanding with Widad Business Group, a Malaysian investment firm, for their bilateral cooperation on the Malaysian Army’s multiple rocket launcher acquisition project.

The non-binding agreement was signed on May 6 between Tan Sri Dato Muhammad lkmal Opat Abdullah, Chairman of Widad Business Group, and Go Sang-hwe, Executive Vice President of Hanwha Aerospace and also General Manager of Hanwha Aerospace’s Daejeon Plant, on the occasion of the Defence Service Asia (DSA) Exhibition and Conference 2024, to be held from May 6-9 in Kuala Lumpur. Among other attendees were Malaysian Defense Minister Dato’ Seri Mohamed Khaled Nordin; Minister Seok Jong-gun of South Korea’s Defense Acquisition Program Administration Seok; the Malaysian Chief of Armed Forces General Tan Sri Muhammad Ab Rahman; and the Malaysian chief of army General Tan Sri Dato’ Muhammad Hafizuddeain Jantan.

“I am very impressed by Hanwha’s excellent track record of delivering fantastic defense solutions to many countries around the world,” said Tan Sri Dato Muhammad lkmal Opat Abdullah, Chairman of Widad Business Group. “With their ambition, innovation and their drive to be the very best in the world, I believe we have found an immense partner to further grow our business in the defense sector. I look forward to the fruits of this partnership in the years to come.”

Go Sang-hwe, Executive Vice President of Hanwha Aerospace, said, “Hanwha Aerospace is committed to actively presenting ways to enhance the military capabilities of Malaysia based on the MOU signed today. Furthermore, we pledge to foster collaboration with relevant authorities, ensuring that our efforts in the defense sector pave the way for mutual advancement and prosperity in the future.”

Malaysia is looking to acquire advanced multiple rocket launchers and other support vehicles by 2026 to replace the aging fleet of 36 Astros II systems produced in Brazil, with the final proposals from bidders to be submitted in the second quarter of 2025.

The K239 Chunmoo is a world-class self-propelled multiple rocket launcher system in service with several nations, including South Korea, Poland, and some other nations in the Middle East. It can be loaded with two different types of rocket pods at once, while each K239 MRLS launcher vehicle is escorted by an ammunition support vehicle, carrying four reload pods.

The K239 MRLS can fire several kinds of rockets and missiles, featuring its flexibility and adaptability to align with various operational requirements. It can fire 130mm and 239mm rockets, with a range of 36 and 80 kilometers, respectively. It can also launch a 290mm ballistic missile with a maximum range of 290 kilometers. The 290km CTM-290 missile was successfully test-launched from a Polish Chunmoo system, codenamed Homar-K, at a state-run test site in South Korea.

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