The Norwegian defense ministry has signed a contract with South Korean defense industry major Hanwha Aerospace for the purchase of four more K9 self-propelled howitzers (SPHs) and another eight K10 ammunition resupply vehicles (ARVs).
Signed on November 7, the deal will see Hanwha deliver the vehicles over the next years. Once delivered, they would be joining the 24 K9 SPHs and 6 K10 ARVs ordered by Norway in 2017.
Norway received its first K9 SPH in 2019 to replace the US-developed M109, 155 mm turreted howitzers that were retired after 50 years of service with the Norwegian Army.
“The latest option contract for the additional delivery of K9 Vidar systems and K10 ARVs is a key milestone for enhanced defense cooperation between Hanwha and Norway,” said Hanwha vice president Kwak Jong-woo. “Norway is a key pillar of the expanding community of K9 user countries, and we will devote our sincere effort to implement the option contract and contribute to enhancing Norwegian defense capabilities.”
Dubbed Vidar in Norwegian service, the 155mm/52-calibre K9 howitzer is among the most popular tracked self-propelled guns with over 1,700 units already in service. Since 2001, the K9 has been ordered by eight countries including Turkey, India, Poland, Norway, Finland, Estonia, Australia and Egypt.
The howitzer can deliver effects at ranges of over 40km and is optimized for “Shoot-and-Scoot” capability to fire multiple rounds and immediately move to a different location to avoid potential counter-fire.
Following the modifications to the K9A1 version, the artillery system is being upgraded to the newer K9A2 variant equipped with a fully automatic ammunition handling system.
The autoloading K9A2, which is being offered to the UK Mobile Fires Platform program, can fire nine rounds per minute, with just three crew members. In a recent milestone, the K9 and K10 were tested by the US Army to prove their compatibility with various US munitions. The test was conducted at the Yuma Proving Ground in Arizona in mid-September 2022 to fire different types of US munitions including 155mm M795 projectiles and XM1113 Rocket Assistance Projectiles.