Hanwha Defense K9 self-propelled howitzer deliveries to Norway still on track

Amid the COVID-19 crisis, Korean defense manufacturer Hanwha Defense remains on track with its planned deliveries of 24 K9 self-propelled howitzers and 6 K10 automatic ammunition resupply vehicles to Norway by the end of 2020. The European country signed a contract with the firm in 2017..

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K9 155mm self-propelled howitzer for Norway ready to be delivered.   (Picture source Twitter account @TheBaseLeg)

"The main production facility for the K9, located in Changwon, South Gyeongsang Province, has been operating as normal without any delay to deliveries," a Hanwha official told The Korea Times. "The artillery is in full production and the first batch of the K9s is set to be shipped to Norway in May." Since November 2019, two K9s have been undergoing test trials, along with one K10. Starting in May 2020, the remaining vehicles on order are scheduled to be handed over to the Norwegian Army by October.

A couple of Hanwha's artillery experts were dispatched to Europe to help train Norwegian technicians to use the advanced artillery system, Kang Seung-woo reports in the Korea Times. "We are pleased that the construction of the artillery and the rest of the project is still going according to plan," Nils Inge Træen, from the Norwegian Defense Material Agency, was quoted as saying by a local engineering magazine on April 6.

On December 2017, Norway’s defense ministry has announced the purchase of the K9 155 artillery self-propelled howitzers designed and manufactured by the South Korean Company Hanwha Land Systems. The contract also includes the K10 resupply armored vehicles that will reach an amount of $383 million

This is the second Scandinav country after Finland that has purchased the South Korean K9 155mm tracked self-propelled howitzer. In February 2017, the Finnish defense minister Jussi Niinistö has announced the purchase of 48 South Korean K9s artillery howitzers for a total amount of €146 million ($155 million).

Hanwha Defense has exported about 600 K9 guns to foreign countries, including Turkey, Poland Estonia and India. The K9 accounts for nearly 50% of the self-propelled howitzers being operated in the world.

The K9 nicknamed Thunder is a South Korean 155mm self-propelled howitzer based on tracked armored chassis developed by Samsung Techwin for the Republic of Korea Armed Forces and now manufactured by Hanwha Land Systems.

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.

This self-propelled howitzer has a crew of five, consisting of commander, driver, gunner, assistant gunner, and loader.