The K9 Thunder is a 155mm self-propelled howitzer built for the Republic of Korea Armed Forces by multiple contractors.
The debut of South Korean K9 Howitzers in Talisman Saber
Exercise Talisman Sabre, conducted at the Shoalwater Bay Training Area, saw the first appearance of South Korean K9 howitzers. These were displayed alongside the American HIMARS on 22 July.
Military ties between Australia and South Korea are strengthening, especially after Hanwa, maker of the K9 and Chunmoo MLRS, was awarded a contract to build the new Redback infantry fighting vehicles for Australia.
Australian and South Korean responses to deployment
Australian gunners such as Max Hood of the 4th Royal Australian Artillery Regiment had the chance to get a close look at the future direction of their division. Hood highlighted the adaptation to self-propelled artillery in his operations.
Commander Kim Donju of the South Korean Marine Corps highlighted the Korean Marine Corps’ demonstration of strength and capability during the exercise, as well as improvement in joint operations with multinational forces.
Technical specifications of the K9 Howitzer
The K9 Thunder is a 155 mm self-propelled howitzer built for the Republic of Korea Armed Forces by multiple contractors, including Hanwha Defense. The K9 has an effective range of 40 km and can fire 6 to 8 rounds per minute.
These howitzers operate in conjunction with the K10 automatic ammunition resupply vehicle, which can carry an additional 104 rounds.
Future Australian variants, the Huntsman and AS10, are expected to offer similar capabilities to the K9 and K10.
Manufacturing and future plans in Australia
In 2020, a tender was announced for the local production of 30 K9s in Australia. Hanwha Defense Australia was selected as the preferred supplier for constructing and maintaining these howitzers and their support systems.
The Australian variant, the AS9 Huntsman, is inspired by the Norwegian K9 VIDAR model. 30 AS9 Huntsmen and 15 AS10 armored personnel carriers are planned to be built in Victoria.
Hanwha Defense Australia will establish its first foreign factory in Geelong, offering 300 local jobs in a 150,000 m² space.