The governments of Egypt and South Korea on Tuesday signed a contract for Egypt’s purchase of K9 self-propelled howitzers.
According to the South Korea’s defense procurement agency (DAPA), the deal is worth over 2 trillion won (approx. US$1.65B) and marks the first time the K9 was sold to a customer in Africa.
It should be noted that the contract signing follows years of negotiations between the system manufacturer Hanwha Defense and Egypt’s defense ministry. While negotiations reportedly kicked off in 2017, Egypt has been eyeing the system since at least 2010.
DAPA did not provide information on how many of the self-propelled howitzers Egypt is buying. A Hanwha press release said the agreement included hundreds of the K9 SPH, K10 ammunition resupply vehicles, and K11 fire direction control vehicles.
DAPA did note, however, that the deal included a transfer of technology agreement, which would see the howitzers manufactured locally in Egypt.
The first batch of K9 SPHs will be delivered from South Korea before 2025, with the remainder to be produced at the state-run Military Factory 200 in Egypt through technology transfer.
Another fact that makes this deal stands out is the fact that it includes the first export of a naval K9 variant.
The Egyptian Navy had long sought to acquire the K9 as an anti-access/area denial weapon system, and the K9 successfully proved its access denial capability by hitting targets precisely at sea during tests and evaluations in 2017, Hanwha Defense said.
While the export deal for Egypt is the latest in a series of successes for the K9, it is likely the largest export contract for the system South Korea and Hanwha have secured. With the order, Egypt is becoming the ninth operator of the system, joining Finland, Estonia, Turkey, India, Finland, Norway, Australia, and South Korea. Poland is also operating its 155 mm KRAB weapon system on the K9 chassis.
The K9 155mm howitzer is capable of firing ammunition within 30 seconds of receiving a shooting command. It can fire up to 3 shots within 15 seconds and 18 consecutive shots for 3 minutes.
The 47-ton artillery has a firing range of 40 kilometers and can move as fast as 67 kilometers per hour. Fitted with an automatic fire control system, the howitzer can fire within 30 seconds from a stationary position and 60 seconds while on move, with a maximum rate of fire from six to eight rounds per minute.