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K-9 Thunder

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Title: K-9 Thunder  
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Subject: Republic of Korea Armed Forces, Panzerhaubitze 2000, 2S19 Msta, Republic of Korea Marine Corps, AHS Krab, Type 99 155 mm self-propelled howitzer
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K-9 Thunder

K9 Thunder

K9 Thunder
Type Self-propelled artillery
Place of origin  Republic of Korea
Service history
Used by See Operators
Production history
Designer Samsung Techwin
Designed 1989–1998
Manufacturer Samsung Techwin
Unit cost $3.1 million
Produced 1999–present
Variants K10, T-155 'Firtina' (Storm)
Weight 47 tonnes (K9)
56 tonnes (T-155 'Firtina')
Length 12 m
Width 3.4 m
Height 2.73 m
Crew 5 (Commander, Driver, Gunner, 2 Loaders)

Maximum range 30,000 m (HE)
38,000 m (DP-ICM base bleed)
41,600 m (Extended range full-bore-base)
52-56,000 m (BB+RAP extended range)

52 cal (155mm howitzer)
12.7 mm (.50 caliber) K6 HMG
Engine MTU MT 881 Ka-500 8-cylinder water-cooled diesel
1000 hp
Power/weight 21 hp/ton
Transmission S&T Dynamics X1100-5A3
Suspension hydropneumatic
480 km
Speed 67 km/h

The K9 Thunder is a South Korean self-propelled 155 mm howitzer developed by Samsung Techwin for the Republic of Korea Armed Forces. It was developed to supplement and eventually replace the K55 self-propelled howitzers currently in South Korean service. K9 howitzers operate in groups with the K10 automatic ammunition resupply vehicle.


The development program of this 155 mm/52-caliber self-propelled howitzer has been underway since 1989. In 1996 the first prototype of this new artillery system was tested. The contract for the new K9 artillery system was awarded to Samsung Aerospace Industries (SSA) by the Korean Government on 22 December 1998. Republic of Korea Army received its first batch of K9 in 1999.

The K9 was involved in the Bombardment of Yeonpyeong between North and South Korean artillery units on 23 November 2010.[1]

General characteristics

K9 is an indigenous system of an all-welded steel armour construction which is rated to withstand 14.5 mm armour piercing rounds, 152 mm shell fragments, and anti-personnel mines.[2] The main armament consists of a 155 mm/52 caliber ordnance with a maximum firing range of 40 km.[3] State-of-the-art mobility subsystems include a 1,000 horsepower (750 kW) engine with potential for growth and hydropneumatic suspension unit, a requirement for Korea's rugged mountainous terrain.[4]

It was designed to give the artillery arm of the Republic of Korea Army a significant improvement in capability. With a claimed range of 40 km, it offers greater mobility, longer range, higher rate of fire, and increased battlefield survivability, as it can quickly be brought into action, open fire, and come out of action. It is less likely to be engaged by counter-battery fire, by relying on shoot-and-scoot.[5] The unit also supports full CBRN protection.[2]


The K9 has the ability to fire its shells in MRSI mode (Multiple Rounds Simultaneous Impact). In the MRSI mode, the K9 is able to fire three shells in under 15 seconds — 1 shell every 5 seconds — each in different trajectories so that all of the shells will arrive on their target at the same time.[3]

K10 Ammunition Resupply Vehicle (ARV)

The K10 is an automatic ammunition resupply vehicle built on the K9 platform, part of the K9 Thunder system. It shares the same chassis as K9, preserving K9's mobility, and can follow the main artillery battery without lagging behind.[6] Maximum transfer rate of shells is 12 rounds per minute, and maximum load of shells is 104 rounds.[7]

The reloading process is fully automated. The reloading is done through a munition bridge on the K10 that extends out to lock itself into a reception hole located at the rear of the K9. This allows the unit to rearm itself under harsh combat conditions without the crew having to expose themselves to the combat environment.[8]

Operational History

During the Bombardment of Yeonpyeong on November 23, 2010, six South Korean Marine Corps K9s engaged in the incident with North Korean artillery.[9] The K9 engines had been damaged by the use of incorrect antifreeze fluid.[10]


The first country Samsung Techwin sold the K9 to was Turkey. Turkey received its first batch of the K9 and the license to domestically produce the system in 2004, in a deal that amounted to $1 billion.[11] The domestic Turkish version was renamed as T-155 Firtina. Turkey is expected to field a force of 300 Firtinas by 2011. Samsung Techwin has also formed a venture on 29 March 2012 with Indian conglomerate Larsen and Toubro to supply the K9 for the Indian Army Howitzer competition.[12]

The K9 was a contender for Phase 1C of Australia's Land 17 Artillery Replacement Program prior to that phase of the project being cancelled in May 2012.[13]

Azerbaijan has expressed interest in purchasing the K-9 Thunder.[14]

Variants and upgrades

  • XK9: Experimental prototype.
  • K9: First-production variant.
  • K10: Ammunition resupply vehicle using K9 chassis.
  • T-155: Turkish version of K9.


 Republic of Korea

Total of 1,136 K9 and 179 K10 will be produced.


Total of 350 T-155 Fırtına will be produced.

See also


External links

  • Global Security on K-9 Howitzer
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