South Korean defense major Hanwha Defense has prepared an initial batch of 24 K9 Thunder self-propelled howitzers (SPHs) for their shipment to Poland.
The systems were rolled out at Hanwha’s Factory 1 in Changwon, some 300 kilometers southeast of Seoul, on October 19.
The milestone was achieved after Poland and South Korea signed the first executive contract some two months ago for the delivery of hundreds of K9 SPHs by 2026.
The 155mm/52-caliber K9 Thunder is a tracked self-propelled gun with over 1,700 units in service with nine countries. The system 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.
In particular, the K9 is optimized for “shoot-and-scoot” capability to fire multiple rounds and immediately move to a different location to avoid potential counter-fire.
The K9PL is based on the K9A1 variant that features improvements such as automatic fire control, driver night vision periscopes, and auxiliary power units. Hanwha plans to upgrade the K9A1 to A2 version equipped with a fully automatic ammunition handling system.
“Today’s rollout of K9PL SPH represents our firm commitment to satisfying the needs of Poland,” said Lee Boo-hwan, executive vice president of Hanwha Defense’s Overseas Business Division. “We are very confident about our strong production capacity to deliver best quality products on time.”
In addition to the K9, Poland also signed up for the purchase of South Korean K2 main battle tanks as part of the $5.7 billion agreement from August this year.
Poland and South Korea subsequently arranged the delivery of Hawnha Defense-developed K239 Chunmoo multiple launch rocket systems (MLRS) to the Polish Army.