Australia will become the next customer for the Korean-made 155mm K9 Thunder self-propelled howitzer.
Accordingly, the Australian Government has announced a $788 million defence contract has been awarded to Hanwha Defense Australia to supply the Australian Army with advanced self-propelled howitzers and ammunition resupply vehicles.
30 K9 Thunders, known as AS9s “Huntsman” in Australia, and 15 AS10 armored ammunition resupply vehicles, will be manufactured by Hanwha Defense Australia. Deliveries will take place between 2025 and 2027 at its facility in Geelong, Victoria.
Australian Defence Minister Peter Dutton was confident the acquisition of the “Huntsman family of vehicles” will help enhance the capability of the Australian forces. “The prime ability of the new vehicles is to fire and move quickly, avoiding enemy counter-attack,” the minister said. “This project will mean a significant increase in the level of firepower and security for Australian artillery capability.”
Hanwha’s K9 features a proven 155mm gun in service with seven nations around the world: South Korea, Turkey, Poland, India, Finland, Norway and Estonia. About 1,700 K9 variants are in use among those countries. Negotiations are underway between Hanwha and the Egyptian government for the K9.
The K9 has a firing range of 40-plus kilometers with conventional 155mm ammunition. It can move as fast as 67 kph. Fitted with an automatic fire control system, the howitzer can fire within 30 seconds from a stationary position and within 60 seconds while on move. Based on the K9 features, the AS9 Huntsman will be specifically built to meet the requirements of the Australian Army by adding enhanced armor and weapon-locating radars, according to Hanwha officials.