Discover new South Korean K9A2 155mm self-propelled howitzer combat capabilities
According to a video published by the South Korean company Hanwha Defense on October 31, 2022, the latest variant of the South Korean 155mm self-propelled howitzer, the K9A2 has demonstrated its mobility capability in all-terrain conditions during field trials in the United Kingdom.
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The new South Korean Hanwha Defense K9A2 155mm tracked self-propelled howitzer during mobility demonstration in the United Kingdom. (Picture source Hanwha Defense video footage)
The K9A2 155mm self-propelled howitzer is one of the contenders for the Mobile Fires Platform (MFP) program launched by the British Ministry of Defense. The goal of this program is to acquire new mobile artillery based on a wheeled or tracked chassis. The new howitzer will replace the AS-90 155mm tracked self-propelled howitzer that entered into service with the British army in the early 1990s. According to the military balance 2021, the British army has a total of 89 AS90.
In March 2022, Lockheed Martin UK signs teaming agreement to join “Team Thunder” led by Hanwha Defense. The team, which also includes Pearson Engineering, Horstman Defence Systems, Leonardo UK, and Soucy Defense of the Soucy Group, will build an advanced variant of the K9 Self-Propelled Howitzer for the Royal Artillery, as part of the Mobile Fires Platform (MFP) program for the UK Ministry of Defence (MOD).
The K9A2 is the latest variant in the K9 family. Armed with a 155mm/52-caliber cannon, the K9 Thunder is a proven tracked platform, allowing genuine, sustained 360-degree firing solutions, delivering consistent, accurate, rapid effects at +40km range with high rates and volumes of fire, including Multiple Round Simultaneous Impact, or MRSI. It carries 48 rounds, far more rounds than many of its rivals, facilitating a significantly enhanced number of missions.
The British variant of the K9A2 will be equipped with the Composite Rubber Track, which will enable more rapid ‘in to’ and ‘out of’ action, coupled with higher levels of tactical mobility and automation. The UK variant will be capable of firing up to 10 rounds per minute, with just three crew members.
The K9A2 keeps the original armament of the previous version consisting of a 155 mm/L52 gun. It has a maximum firing range of 50 km using rocket-assisted projectile (RAP) rounds.
The external design of the K9A2 is very similar to the previous version of the K9. The driver is at the front of the hull on the left with the engine to his right. The turret with the artillery gun system is mounted at the rear of the hull. The K9A2 is now fitted with automatic ammunition handling and loading system and can reach a rate of fire of 9 rounds per minute.
In terms of mobility, the K9A2 is fitted with a hydropneumatic suspension that consists on each side of six dual rubber road wheels, with the drive sprocket at the front, idler at the rear, and three track return rollers. It is powered by a Diesel engine developing 1,000 hp coupled to an Allison automatic transmission X1100-5A3 with 4 forward and 2 reverse gears. It can run at a maximum road speed of 67 km/h with a maximum cruising range of 360 km.