South Korea will have a new self-propelled howitzer with an unmanned turret

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SEOUL, (BM) – According to the South Korean concern Hanhwa Defense, work has begun on a new version of the K9 Thunder self-propelled howitzer with an unmanned turret. State research on this variant, designated K9A2, is expected to begin later this year, learned BulgarianMilitary.com citing Defence24.

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The latest version of the K9 is to be equipped with a fully unmanned turret system with a fully automatic ammunition loading and handling system. This is to significantly increase the rate of fire and reduce the number of crew members. Initial research and development on this version of K9 is expected to be completed within the next few years. According to the plan, the K9A2 is to participate in the program of purchasing a new self-propelled howitzer for the British Army, which plans to eventually replace and withdraw the currently operated AS90s from the line service.

From 2018, Hanwha Defense is to deliver a modernized version of the K9 Thunder self-propelled howitzer, designated K9A1. The modifications introduced therein include, among others, a modernized automatic fire control system, inertial and satellite navigation system, thermal imaging device for the driver and a reversing camera, and a new auxiliary power unit.

The K9 Thunder is a South Korean self-propelled gun howitzer designed by Samsung Techwin for the needs of the South Korean army and currently produced by Hanwha Land Systems. These systems are also used by export users such as Estonia, Finland, India and Norway, and several more countries are interested in acquiring them.

The crew consists of five people: commander, gunner, loader, assistant loader and driver. The main armament is a 155 mm gun with a length of 52 caliber with a range of 40 km. The stock of ammunition is 48 rounds and propellant charges ready for use. The ammunition is loaded with an automated system, thanks to which the rate of fire is up to 12 rounds per minute. It is powered by the 1000 HP MTU MT 881 Ka-500 diesel engine, which weighs 47 tons and provides a top speed of 67 km / h and a range of 480 km.

Norwegian Armed Forces received self-propelled howitzers K9

The Norwegian Armed Forces received the first 155 / 52-mm self-propelled howitzers K9 South Korean production, as we reported last december. The first two self-propelled guns and one K10 ammunition transport vehicle arrived in Norway at the port of Drammen [Oslo] at the end of November. December 4 delivered equipment was officially transferred to the artillery division of the Norwegian motorized infantry brigade “North”.

The rollout of the first 155-mm K9 self-propelled gun for the Norwegian military took place on September 19 of this year at Hanwha Techwin in South Korean Changwon, later the first self-propelled guns and charging vehicle were shipped to Norway by sea. The main part of the equipment is scheduled for delivery in 2020 with an end in 2021. In Norway, the K9 self-propelled gun was called VIDAR.

According to the agreement signed in 2017 by the Norwegian Ministry of Defense and the South Korean company Hanwha Land Systems, the latter will supply the Norwegian army 24 self-propelled howitzers K9 Thunder with a new caliber 155 / 52 mm. At the same time, an option is provided for another 24 self-propelled guns. In addition to the howitzers themselves, the contract provides for the supply of six armored vehicles for transporting K10 ammunition on the same chassis, ammunition, simulators, related equipment, as well as training and full technical support for self-propelled guns for their entire service life.

In service with the Norwegian army K9 Thunder will replace the obsolete SAU M109A3GNM. The South Korean howitzer won the tender, in which the German Panzerhaubitze 2000 from Krauss-Maffei Wegmann, the French Caesar from Nexter and the modern-day M109 Krait from the Swiss company RUAG also participated.

The 155-mm / 52 self-propelled howitzer K9 Thunder (Thunder) was developed and manufactured by the South Korean association Samsung Techwin (now Hanwha Land Systems). In total, from 1999 to 2014, the South Korean army received 1136 self-propelled guns K9. Since 2004, the system has also been produced under license in Turkey [as T-155 Firtina].

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K9 Thunder weighs 47 tons, powerful diesel in 1000 hp provides speeds of up to 67 km / h. Cruising range 480 km. Armed with the KNUMX 9-mm gun with a barrel length of 155 caliber, the rate of fire reaches 52 rounds per minute. Crew 15 people. The installation can hit targets with high accuracy from a distance of more than 5 km, and when using Excalibur smart shells, from a distance of more than 40 km.

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