The Estonian military have taken delivery of South Korea-built K9 Thunder self-propelled howitzers and the remaining 16 units purchased by the country will be delivered over the course of three years. Training with the two newly delivered K9 howitzers will start in 2021 after they have been fitted with an Estonian camouflage scheme and communication equipment. The Hanwha Defense’s K9 were chosen as they have been tested in South Korea, which has a similar climate to Estonia’s, according to an Estonian military official. The K9 howitzers will be deployed to the artillery battalion of the 1st Infantry Brigade to replace 155-millimeter artillery.
Estonia has decided to participate in Finland’s procurement of self-propelled howitzers. Finnish Minister of Defense Jussi Niinisto proposed to Estonia to jointly procure self-propelled howitzers, Finland’s leading daily Helsingin Sanomat reported in December 2017. The agreement also includes training, maintenance and spare parts. The Finnish Defence Forces announced on 17 February 2017 that they will buy 48 used K9s, with the deliveries starting in 2017. Finland and Estonia have previously teamed up to acquire medium-range radars. K9FIN Moukari (Sledge-hammer)is a Finnish variant of the K9 with APU.
The K9 Thunder is a South Korean self-propelled 155 mm howitzer designed and developed by the Agency for Defense Development and Samsung Aerospace Industries for the Republic of Korea Armed Forces, and is now manufactured by Hanwha Defense. K9 howitzers operate in groups with the K10 automatic ammunition resupply vehicle variant. The entire K9 fleet operated by the ROK Armed Forces is now undergoing upgrades to K9A1 standard, and a further development of a K9A2 variant is in process. The first vehicle was rolled out on 17 December 1999, and was fielded to the Republic of Korea Marine Corps in Yeonpyeong Island. Other users of K9 howitzers include Turkey, Poland, India, Finland and Norway.