Estonia has signed a contrat to purchase K9 155m howitzers from South Korea

The press service of Estonian Ministry of Defense announced on Tuesday, June 26, 2018, 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.

Estonia has signed a contrat to purchase K9 155m howitzers from South Korea 925 001
South Korean K9 Thunder 155mm self-propelled howitzer at Defense Exhibition in South Korea. (Picture source Army Recognition)

In February 2017, it was announced that Estonia has showed interest to acquire K9 Thunder 155m self-propelled hwoitzer from South Korea that could enter in service with Estonian armed forces by 2021 with a final delivery for 2026. At the end of August 2017 the Estonian government submitted a request to South Korea to make a price offer for 12 K9 Thunder howitzers. The new artillery systems will equip one artillery battalion of the Estonian Defence Forces (EDF). The request alos included an option for the purchase of 12 more similar howitzers to arm a second battalion.

In January 2018, The Estonian government has received an offer to purchase 12 K9 Thunder-type howitzers from the government of South Korea.

Turkey has licensed the design of the K9 and used it to develop their indigenous self-propelled howitzer, the T-155 Firtina. Finnish Ministry of Defence (MoD) confirmed on 17 February 2017, the purchase of K9 Thunder 155 mm self-propelled howitzers from South Korea. On Wednesday, December 20, 2017, Norway’s defence ministry has announced the purchase of the K9 155 artillery self-propelled howitzers designed and manufactured by the South Korean Company Hanwha Land Systems.

In July 2017, Indian Company India's Larsen & Toubro and Hanwha Techwin (HTW) of South Korea signed a contract to produce the K9 155mm/52 Caliber Tracked Self-Propelled howitzer for the Indian Army under the name of Vajra-T, an enhanced version of the K9 Thunder, manufactured according to specific requirements of the Indian Army including desert operations.

The K9 Thunder is a South Korean Self-Propelled 155 mm Howitzer (SPH) developed by Samsung Techwin. The development program of this 155 mm/52-caliber self-propelled howitzer has been underway since 1989. In 1996 the first prototype of this new artillery system was tested. The contract for the new K9 artillery system was awarded to Samsung Aerospace Industries (SSA) by the Korean Government on 22 December 1998.

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 a maximum rate of fire of 6 rounds per minute and is capable of multiple-round simultaneous-impact firing. It is able to fire three rounds in 15 seconds, each in different trajectories, so that all of the shells arrive on target at the same time. Sustained rate of fire is 2 rounds per minute. It is compatible with standard NATO 155-mm ammunition. Maximum range of fire is 30 km with standard HE projectile and 40 km with rocket-assisted projectile.