Hanwha Corporation, formerly Korea Explosives Corporation, is a diversified industrial conglomerate. Its defence division makes munitions, guidance and delivery systems.[i] The South Korean company specialises in munitions, for which the production process is under strict government control. While in 2007 the company stated that the South Korean Government was their sole customer[ii], in recent years, in parallel with much of South Korea’s military industry, Hanwha has opened up to the export market, both exhibiting at international arms fairs and selling military equipment abroad.[iii]
Hanwha has produced the 130 mm Multiple Launch Rocket System (MLRS) and the 2.75″ Multi-purpose submunitions (MPSM) for use on its rockets. The company confirmed the manufacture of this type of cluster munition in a written answer to the Norwegian Government Pension Fund Global in 2007.[iv]
In February 2010, Hanwha Corporation still advertised the 130 mm MLRS and the 2.75″ MPSM on its website. It described the 130 mm MLRS as a rocket launcher that could “launch multiple rockets into concentrated enemy encampments across a wide area.”[v] The 2.75-inch MPSM was described as the “HE MPSM K224 Warhead [that] contains 9 each multipurpose submunitions for use against personnel, materiel and light armour.”[vi] Also at the IDEX 2013 arms fair (International Defence Exhibition & Conference in Abu Dhabi) Hanwha marketed the “Rocket warhead MPSM K224” in its catalogue.[vii]
In January 2011, the 2.75” MPSM was still on the company’s website, but the 130 mm MLRS had been removed.[viii] By March 2012, both the 2.75’’ MPSM and the 130 mm MLRS had been removed from the company’s website. Research by Handicap International and Facing Finance (Germany) in 2011, however, showed that Hanwha still offered 2.75’’ submunitions and 120 mm mortar bombs with cluster ammunition at the 2011 IDEX.[ix]
In April 2012, South Korea informed the Cluster Munition Monitor that Hanwha produced 42,800 Dual Purpose Improved Conventional Munition (DPICM) submunitions for its extended range (base-bleed) 155 mm artillery projectiles in 2011.[x]
First deliveries for Hanwha’s new twelve-round, multiple-calibre MLRS, ‘Chunmoo’, were then scheduled for the second half of 2014. The Chunmoo is capable of firing 130 mm and 239 mm rockets.[xi] At IDEX 2015 the Chunmoo rocket launcher system was listed under Hanhwa’s products.[xii] In 2018, the Chunmoo system is advertised on Hanwha’s website.[xiii] Among the available warheads are reportedly high explosive fragmentation rounds and cargo warheads with anti-tank or pre-fragmented anti-personnel submunitions.[xiv]
Hanwa also produces fuzes that are used for cluster munitions. The mechanical fuze M577A1 and the proximity fuze HW201, of which Hanwha states it is equivalent to the electronic proximity fuze M732, both used for cluster ammunition, are listed in a brochure available on the company website.[xv] The HW101 Fuze is used in the (Poongsan) K310 cluster munition.[xvi]
In February 2017 Hanwha Corporation “submitted a patent application for submunition [with a] delayed self-destruct [unit] with [an] independent pyrotechnic [mechanism]. […] An abstract released by the Korean Intellectual Property Office states: ‘The present invention relates to a submissile fuze having an independent pyrotechnic self-destruct unit, wherein an impulse fuze part and a delay part emitted from a submissile to be exploded after a certain amount of time are independently operated. Therefore, the submissile fuze having an independent pyrotechnic self-destruct unit minimizes the chance of non-detonation, thereby securing sufficient delay time.’”[xvii] Although it is unknown for which submunition type the patent is filed, it is clear that Hanwha is at least developing this submunition.
Hanwha is considered a cluster munitions producer because the company produced and advertised submunitions and key components of cluster munitions after May 2008.
It advertised the 2.75” MPSM submunitions and 120 mm and 130 mm MLRS mortar bombs with cluster ammunition and the Chunmoo systems with submunitions. It also produced DPICM submunitions and produced and markets fuzes that are used in cluster munitions. In addition, it applied for a patent for a yet-unknown submunition.
Hanwha has not refuted this information, has not responded to PAX’ requests for more information and has not stated publicly that it would stop producing cluster munitions.
[ii] Council on Ethics for the Government Pension Fund – Global, “Recommendation on exclusion of the companies Rheinmetall AG and Hanwha Corp.”, Letter to the Ministry of Finance, 15 May 2007, available at www.regjeringen.no/contentassets/ce9b6b6d8341418eb8a00f2d436a3975/rheinmetall-and-hanwha-unofficial-english-transla.pdf, last viewed 26 March 2018.
[iii] Simon Mundy, “South Korea aims to become defence powerhouse”, Financial Times, 6 November 2013, available at www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/0/66a9a33a-42ea-11e3-8350-00144feabdc0.html, last viewed 26 March 2018.
[iv] The Norwegian Government Pension Fund Global has excluded Hanwha in 2007. Its Council on Ethics justified this decision as follows: “The South Korean company Hanwha Corporation produces various forms of military equipment, among these are different types of munitions. The company’s website shows a picture and description of what it calls a “scattering bomb.”
The term “scattering bomb” is not a commonly used designation for weapons. From its context it must be assumed that the “scattering” refers to bomblets which are scattered over the target area, which is characteristic of cluster munitions. In the company’s description of the weapon, it is stated that its intended use is to “destroy massed enemy positions”, which is the most common usage of cluster munitions. A picture of the weapon seems to show a canister which is filled with a large number of submunitions. Although the Council has been unable to find further information on this weapon, it seems obvious that this is a category of cluster munitions that has previously led to exclusion of companies from the Fund.
Furthermore, in the Jane’s Missiles and Rockets database, there is a description and pictures of the weapon from the IDEX Arms Exhibition in Abu Dhabi, UAE, in February 2007. It is described that Hanwha Corporation has on exhibit a “lightweight 70 mm MLRS-system” with associated cluster munitions. At the Council’s request, Norges Bank has written to the company to inquire whether the company produces cluster munitions, and specifically to verify whether the “Scattering Bomb” is a cluster weapon.
The company responded to the enquiry on May 7th, 2007, and clarified the following:
“Hanwha Corporation was officially designated as a defence contractor in 1974. Since then, it has specialised in munitions, whose production process has been under strict government control and all of which have been supplied only to the Korean government. Hanwha Corporation has manufactured MLRS and 2.75” MPSM5, which can be classified as cluster/cargo munitions and has also produced KCBU-58B in the past. However, we have developed and supplied such items in cooperation with the government’s initiative for self-defence, not for any other unethical purpose.”
The company thereby acknowledges its production of aerial and artillery delivered cluster munitions.
Source: Council on Ethics for the Government Pension Fund – Global, “Recommendation on exclusion of the companies Rheinmetall AG and Hanwha Corp.”, Letter to the Ministry of Finance, 15 May 2007, available at www.regjeringen.no/contentassets/ce9b6b6d8341418eb8a00f2d436a3975/rheinmetall-and-hanwha-unofficial-english-transla.pdf, last viewed 16 November 2018.
[v] Hanwha Corporation, “130 mm Multiple Rocket Launcher System”, Hanwha Corporation website (english.hanwhacorp.co.kr/pdtt/exp/def_pdt/ro/index.asp), last viewed 23 February 2010.
[vi] Hanwha Corporation, “2.75 Inch Rockets, (HE M151, HEDP M247, MPSM K224)”, Hanwha Corporation website (english.hanwhacorp.co.kr/pdtt/tr/dep/ro/1184768_1220.asp), last viewed 23 February 2010.
[vii] Hanwha brochure obtained from IDEX 2013, on file at Omega.
[viii] Hanwha Corporation, “Defense business: Precision Ammunition System”, Hanwha Corporation website (english.hanwhacorp.co.kr/BusinessArea/Explosives/Defense/Ammunition/Ammunition.jsp), last viewed January 2011.
[ix] Handicap International and Facing Finance, “Streubomben: Die “heimlichen” Hersteller” (“Cluster bombs: the “secret” manufacturers”), May 2011, available at www.landmine.de/fileadmin/user_upload/pdf/Broschuere%20Produktion%20SM%202011-1.pdf, last viewed 26 March 2018.
[x] Il Jae Lee, Second Secretary, Disarmament and Nonproliferation Division, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade South Korea, 4 April 2012, in response to a questionnaire by the Landmine and Cluster Munition Monitor, quoted in: Landmine and Cluster Munition Monitor, “Cluster Munition Monitor 2012”, September 2012, p. 18, available at www.the-monitor.org/media/1640044/Cluster_Munition_Monitor_2012.pdf, last viewed 26 March 2018.
[xi] Hanwha Corporation, “Annual Report 2013”, 13 March 2013, available at www.hanwhacorp.co.kr/eng/hanwha/investment/annual_report.do, last viewed 26 March 2018; DefenseNews, “South Korea to deploy airburst rifle”, 23 April 2009; GreenDef, “South Korea has developed a K-MLRS ‘Cheonmoo’”, October 2013, GreenDef website, (greendef.blogspot.nl/2013/10/south-korea-has-developed-k-mlrs.html), last viewed 26 March 2018; Hanwha Corporation, “New Generation Korean MRL System Chunmoo”, 11 November 2014, available at www.hanwhacorp.co.kr/common/fileDownload.do?path=/upload/defense/chunmoo/Chunmoo.pdf&name=Chunmoo.pdf, last viewed 26 March 2018.
[xii] IDEX Exhibition Catalogue 2015 on file in the Omega Research Foundation archive.
[xiii] Hanwha Corporation, “New Generation Korean MRL System Chunmoo”, 11 November 2014, available at www.hanwhacorp.co.kr/common/fileDownload.do?path=/upload/defense/chunmoo/Chunmoo.pdf&name=Chunmoo.pdf, last viewed 26 March 2018.
[xv] Hanwha Corporation, “Defense – Business Areas – Steady Seller – Fuzes”, available at www.hanwhacorp.co.kr/eng/defense/business/area4_1.jsp, last viewed 26 March 2018; Hanwha Corporation, “MTSQ KM577A1/ KM582A1/ Proximity HW201”, available at www.hanwhacorp.co.kr/common/fileDownload.do?path=/upload/defense/Fuze/MTSQ_PROXI.pdf&name=MTSQ_PROXI.pdf, last viewed 26 March 2018;
[xvi] Presentation: Development Of An Electronic Time Fuze For Self-Propelled Long Range Howitzer, 53 Annual Fuze conference, 23 May 2009, on file with PAX.
[xvii] Global IP News, “Hanwha Corporation Submits Korean Patent Application for Submunition have Delayed Self-Destruct with Independent Pyrotechnic”, 9 February 2017, last viewed 28 March 2018.