DX Korea 2018: Global success for South Korean K9 155mm self-propelled howitzer


Global success for the South Korean K9 Thunder 155mm tracked self-propelled howitzer in service with South Korean army but also to 5 other countries including Turkey, Poland, India, Finland and Estonia. The K9 Thunder is a South Korean tracked self-propelled 155 mm howitzer developed by Samsung Techwin for the Republic of Korea Armed Forces and now manufactured by Hanwha Land Systems.


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Scale model of K9 155 tracked self-propelled howitzers used by Turkey, Poland, India, Finland and Estonia at the booth of Hanwha Land Systems during DX Korea 2018, defense exhibition in South Korea. September 2018 (Picture source Army Recognition)


The development of the K9 Thunder 155mm self-propelled howitzer was started in 1989. In 1996, the first prototype of this new artillery system was tested and the first batch op the K9 was delivered to South Korean army in 1999. In 2004, Turkey has received the license to produce locally the K9 under the name of Firtina.

In 2014, Poland has started the production of the KRAB 155mm tracked self-propelled howitzer using the chassis of the South Korean K9 tracked chassis fitted with a British AS90 turret. In September 2015, Larsen and Toubro emerged as the finalist for a US$800 million contract to supply 100 self-propelled howitzers to the Indian Army under the name of VAJRA-T, a variant of the original K9 specially designed for operation in the desert areas bordering Pakistan.

Recently, Finland and Estonia has taken the decision to purchase the K9. Late February 2017, the Finnish MoD announced the signing of a contract worth EUR146 million (USD155 million) for the acquisition of South Korean artillery systems nicknamed Moukari in Finland.

On Tuesday, June 26, 2018, the press service of Estonian Ministry of Defense has announced that Estonia has signed a contract with South Korean Defense Company Hanwha to purchase 12 K9 Thunder 155mm self-propelled howitzers for a total amount of €46 million.


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K9 Thunder 155mm tracked self-propelled howitzer in live demonstration at DX Korea 2018, defense exhibition in South Korea. September 2018 (Picture source Army Recognition)


The main armament of the K9 Thunder consists of a 155 mm/52 caliber ordnance 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 Thunder has all-welded steel hull and turret with a maximum thickness of 19 mm. It provides protection from firing of small arms and artillery shell fragments. This self-propelled howitzer has a crew of five, consisting of commander, driver, gunner, assistant gunner, and loader.

Standard equipment of the K9 Thunder includes an CBRN protection system, heater, internal and external communications system and a manual fire suppression system. The K9 is also equipped with a Honeywell Azimuth Position System, Automatic Fire-Control System, powered gun elevation/depression and turret traverse system.


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