The Norwegian Defence Materiel Agency and Hanwha Land Systems yesterday signed a contract for the procurement of 24 K9 Thunder self-propelled 155mm L/52 Artillery Systems. The total worth of the arms package is about 1.8 Billion NOK. (US$287 million). Pre-series of the artillery system will be delivered for initial trials in 2019 with the remaining batches delivered through 2020, forming a combat-ready artillery battalion in 2021.
The contract comprises 24 self-propelled guns combined with designated ammunition resupply vehicles, with the option for another 24 self-propelled guns. These guns will replace two the battalions of M-109A3GN currently in service. Norway will become the third operator of this weapon; the K-9 Thunder is already in service with the armies of South Korea and Turkey. India and Finland have also selected the K-9 along with Estonia that still negotiates their procurement.
The K-9 Thunder SP howitzer is produced in the Republic of Korea by Hanwha Land Systems. According to the Norwegian agency, the SP gun system that was acquired ‘off-the-shelf’ has satisfied the specific requirements and needs of the Norwegian Army. In addition, Hanwha Land Systems has demonstrated the ability to deliver in compliance with stated time and cost requirements. “Hanwha Land Systems was the Competitor with the greatest degree of compliance with the Norwegian Army’s requirements. The artillery system will become an important contribution to the Armed Forces’ operational ability,” Head of Norwegian Defence Materiel Agency’s Land Systems Division, Brigadier General Morten Eggen stated.
A contract for logistic support, during the useful life of the materiel, together with a contract for the establishment of a Center of Excellence at Bjerkvik Technical Workshop were also signed. Under this agreement, Hanwha Land Systems will provide test equipment and training material and share technical knowledge to support the systems at the Bjerkvik Technical Workshop. The center will offer support services to other military users of the K-9 system.