Hanwha Defense says no-deal yet with UAE on Chun-mu MLRS

Chun-mu multiple launch rocket system (MLRS).

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) armed forces have shown close interest in South Korean defence company Hanwha Defense’s self-propelled Chun-mu multiple launch rocket system (MLRS) and associated ordnance. Reports of a deal struck at the show have been denied by Hanwha.

The Chun-mu, known as the K239 K-MLRS in Republic of Korea Army (RoKA) service, is based on 8×8 vehicle for enhanced mobility and is fitted with a protected cab for the crew.

The launcher is equipped with a pair of rear-mounted pods, each containing six 239mm guided rockets, which have a stated maximum range of up to 80km and are armed with high-explosive (HE) warheads.

It also features a boom-type loading system that enables pods of new rockets to be rapidly loaded. These can include 20-cells of 130mm K30 or K33 unguided rockets that can engage targets at up to 30km to 36km, two 400mm surface-to-surface missiles (SSMs), or a single 600mm SSM with a maximum range of 290km.

According to the government’s Defense Agency for Technology and Quality (DTAQ), the RoKA began fielding the Chun-mu system in 2015, which is expected to eventually replace the Doosan K136 Kooryong 130 mm 36-round unguided rocket system.

DTAQ also noted that the Chun-mu can also fire unguided 227 mm rockets used by the U Lockheed Martin 227mm M270 MLRS and High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS).

The UAE announcement would have represented the first known export contract for the Chun-mu MLRS, although this has now been thrown into question.

Nevertheless, Hanwha Defense has already gained significant traction in artillery exports with its K9 Thunder 155mm self-propelled howitzers (SPHs) with exports to Estonia, Finland, India, and Norway. More recently in September 2020, Hanwha Defense Australia (HDA) had been selected to supply 30 K9 SPHs and 15 K10 armoured ammunition resupply vehicles to the Australian Army.

by Jr Ng