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16 Jan 2023

Estonia signs new defense contract to procure 12 K9 155mm self-propelled howitzers

Estonia signs new defense contract to procure 12 K9 155mm self-propelled howitzers
Image: Estonian MoD
Originally posted on ArmyRecognition

The K9 Thunder is a 155mm self-propelled howitzer developed and manufactured by Hanwha Defense, a South Korean defense company. The company has been involved in exporting the K9 howitzer to several countries, including Finland, India, Estonia, Egypt, and Turkey.

The new K9 Thunder 155mm tracked self-propelled howitzers will be deployed with an Estonian Infantry Brigade. The final delivery of these new howitzers is scheduled for 2026.

On June 2018, Estonia had already signed a contract t with South Korean Defense Company Hanwha to purchase 12 K9 Thunder 155mm self-propelled howitzers for a total amount of €46 million.

The K9 Thunder self-propelled howitzer is armed with a 155mm/52-caliber gun. The howitzer is capable of firing a variety of ammunition types, including High-explosive (HE), smoke, Illumination, and precision-guided munition.

The K9 has an automatic loading system and can fire at a rate of up to 10 rounds per minute. Its maximum range is 40km.

The K9 Thunder self-propelled howitzer is designed to be highly mobile and has several features that contribute to its mobility. It has a tracked hydropneumatic suspension consisting 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. These tracks provide the howitzer with a high degree of mobility over rough terrain and allow it to move quickly and easily across a wide range of environments, including mud, sand, and snow.

The tracks also provide the howitzer with a low ground pressure, which means it exerts less force on the ground. This allows it to move across soft or sensitive terrain without causing damage. The tracks also distribute the vehicle's weight over a larger surface area, which helps it to maintain a stable firing platform even when the vehicle is in motion.

The K9 Thunder is capable of traveling at high speeds on roads, allowing it to move quickly from one location to another. The maximum road speed of the K9 howitzer is reported to be around 70 km/h (44 mph) with a maximum cruising range of 360 km. This is relatively fast for a self-propelled artillery piece and allows it to keep pace with other armored units in a mechanized formation.

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