A K9 Self-Propelled Howitzer is on display at a military fair. User countries of the howitzer will convene this April in South Korea for the inaugural meeting of the K9 User Community. Photo courtesy of Hanwha Defense

Users of K9 SPH will convene in South Korea

Representatives from K9 user countries from across the world will convene this April in South Korea’s southeastern city of Changwon to share their experience and know-how in running the artillery solution.

Hanwha Defense, which manufactures the K9 Self-Propelled Howitzer (SPH), announced on Feb. 21 that it had sent out an invitation to the armies of the nine K9 user countries, including Finland, Norway, and Estonia.

Also included in the list are Turkey, Poland, and South Korea as well as the latest customers of Australia and Egypt, which signed deals with Hanwha Defense last December and this month, respectively.

More than 1,700 variants of the K9 SPH are currently in service, so the demand for a platform emerged to share experiences in different battlefield environments.

In response, the first K9 User Community meeting will take place in Changwon, around 300 kilometers southeast of Seoul.

Pasi Pasivirta, European business development director of Hanwha Defense, said that the exclusive fraternity would help participants best take the best advantage of the K9 SPHs.

“The K9 User Club meeting in Changwon will be an inaugural event for the K9 users to learn from each other and share experience on how to get the best out of the equipment and how to train best for the artillery solution,” he said.

“All participants can take advantage of the venue to find the optimized operation and sustainment doctrine of the K9 artillery gun with their knowledge and know-how.”

Delegates at the meeting would include representatives from the armies, logistics, and maintenance organizations of the member countries, according to Hanwha Defense.

Local industry partners related to the supply and production of the K9 SPHs have also been invited to the Changwon meeting to address potential opportunities for industrial cooperation.

One of the local industry partners, Australia’s Universal Motion Simulation specializing in developing vehicle motion simulators, will have an opportunity to pitch their driving simulation solution and capability.

In 2021 the company signed an MoU with Hanwha Defense Australia for involvement in international markets for the K9 SPH.

The K9 user meeting is to have multiple working group sessions, such as on operation, training, and maintenance, where each participant can share its unique experience and knowledge accrued from the operation of the K9 artillery solution, Hanwha noted.

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.