South Korea completes deployment of K9 self-propelled howitzer

The South Korean army has completed the deployment of its K-9 Thunder self-propelled howitzers, about 20 years after it was first put into force in the country, the arms procurement agency said on November 13. The K-9 Thunder self-propelled howitzer was first deployed on the western border islands of Yeonpyeong and Baengnyeong in 1999.
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K-9 Thunder self-propelled howitzer (Picture source: Army Recognition)

The K9 Thunder was developed by Samsung Techwin and is now manufactured by Hanwha Land Systems. The development program of this 155 mm/52-caliber self-propelled howitzer started in 1989.

The main armament of the K9 Thunder consists of a 155 mm/52 caliber gun with a maximum firing range of 40 km. A total of 48 projectiles and their associated charges are carried for ready use. Internally an automatic loading system takes projectiles from the storage position and places them onto the ammunition tray ready for ramming. The K9 has a maximum rate of fire of 6 rounds per minute and is capable of multiple-round simultaneous-impact firing by firing three rounds in 15 seconds, each on different trajectories so that all of the shells arrive on target at the same time. The sustained rate of fire is 2 rounds per minute. It is compatible with standard NATO 155-mm ammunition.

The maximum range of fire is 30 km with standard HE projectile and 40 km with rocket-assisted projectile. After receiving a fire command, the K9 thunder is able to fire on a target within 30 seconds at emplacement and within 60 seconds from movement. Even though TOT (time on target) firing may be accomplished by several howitzers simultaneously, the K9 thunder is able to more efficiently accomplish the same task by simply changing its fire data.

The howitzer has been exported to several countries, including Turkey, Poland, India, Norway and Estonia. Around 1,700 units are now in service around the world, according to its manufacturer.