K9 User Club holds first event in Changwon
Representatives from K9 user countries convened late last month in South Korea’s Changwon, according to Hanwha Defense on May 2, which developed the world’s best-selling self-propelled howitzer (SPH).
Included in the participants came from four countries of Norway, Finland, Estonia, and Australia. Officials of the Defense Acquisition Program Administration and South Korean Army officials also took part.
During the K9 User Club event, which took place on April 27 and 28, the attendees shared their know-how and best practices in running the artillery solution.
“It’s a great honor to host the inaugural event of the K9 User Club in Changwon, the hometown of the SPH,” Hanwha Defense CEO Son Jae-il said in a welcome message.
“Through this gathering, I hope all the user countries can share their experiences to strengthen their artillery prowess through maximizing the operability of the K9 SPH, which is regarded as the best in the world.”
The participants also held working-group discussions in such segments as K9 SPH operation, education, and maintenance, thus expanding their knowledge and understanding of the weapon system.
Delegates from the four countries expressed their satisfaction with learning about various experiences in different battlefield environments _ currently, more than 1,700 units of the K9 SPH are in service.
“This is a really useful event for us. We think there are a lot of similarities, but there are also some differences and good experiences and learning points that we can take advantage of from the other countries,” a participant said.
One delegate said that his country is thinking of introducing more K9 SPHs at a time when the war between Russia and Ukraine raises awareness of stronger defense power.
Developed in 1998 by the South Korean Agency for Defense Development and Hanwha Defense, the K9 was designed primarily to meet the tactical concept of “Shoot & Scoot,” which means a gun moves to a firing position to complete a fire mission and then leaves the firing position before an enemy can counter it.
The 47-ton K9 has a firing range of 40+ km with conventional 155 ammunition, and it can move as fast as 67 km/h.
Equipped with an automatic fire control system, the howitzer can fire within 30 seconds from a stationary position and within 60 seconds while on the move.
A burst rate of fire of three rounds can be achieved in less than 15 seconds, with a maximum rate of fire from six to eight rounds per minute continuously for three minutes.