Without a doubt, the Korean K9 155mm is gaining popularity around the world.

The Korean K9 Thunder self-propelled howitzer has been and continues to be favored by many Western countries. It is estimated that up to 1,700 K-9 self-propelled guns are in service in many countries around the world. K9 Thunder Korea is serving in 7 NATO countries including Turkey, Poland, Norway and Estonia. In addition, Finland, India, and recently Australia and Egypt have also been interested in this artillery. Without a doubt, the Korean K9 155mm is gaining popularity around the world.

In the 1980s, South Korea began researching and building a new self-propelled gun to supplement and replace the K55 155mm self-propelled howitzer. The requirements for the new system were fast fire rate, long range, high accuracy, and work well on rugged mountainous areas. In 1998, the project was accepted and in 1999, K9 began to be mass-produced for the Korean army.

Currently, the K9 is the latest generation of 155mm self-propelled howitzer based on tracked armored chassis. In fact, only Russia has developed a new howitzer in the 2000s, called the 2S35 but using a 152mm cannon. In Europe, defense companies have chosen to develop howitzers based on truck chassis according to the needs of European armies.

Today, the K9 represents 50% of the global tracked howitzer military market. According to Hanwha Defense, the K9 was developed and designed based on the latest South Korean defense technologies, and today, the K9 Thunder is the world’s most advanced self-propelled howitzer. it is equipped with a Modular Azimuth Position System, an automatic fire-control system, a powered gun elevation and a turret traverse system.

The K9 is armed with one 155mm gun which has a burst rate of fire of three rounds per 15 seconds and a maximum rate of fire of six to eight rounds per minute during three minutes. The gun’s firing is controlled by onboard fire-control equipment. The information can be transmitted through a data digital radio link or voice communications. The automatic loading system places the projectiles onto the ammunition tray ready for the fire. The K9 Thunder can open fire within 30 seconds at stand-out position or within 60 seconds during movement.

The K9 is able to fire all the standard 155mm ammunition with a maximum firing range of 30 km and can destroy land targets at a maximum range of 40 km using extended range ammunition.

The K9 Thunder has an all-welded steel hull and turret with a maximum thickness of 19 mm. It provides protection from the firing of small arms and artillery shell fragments.

Hanwha defense continues to develop and modernize the K9 with now the A1 and A2 versions. The K9A1 has many improvements including an automatic fire control system, driver’s night periscope, and auxiliary power system for enhanced efficiency. The improved K9A1 provides increased range, fast fire rate, and higher mobility during day and night times. The K9A2, which is an advanced version of the K9 specially designed for the British army Mobile Fire Platform program to replace the old AS90 155mm howitzer that was first deployed by the British Army in 1993.

With a cost of about 10 million USD with the K-10 ammunition truck, or 6 million USD for the artillery alone, the K9 is one of Korea’s most popular weapons thanks to its top-notch combat-technical features as well as its relatively reasonable price. In the largest arms export contract ever, Korea will sell Poland about 670 K9 self-propelled howitzers.

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