The world’s most proven artillery system already in service with nine countries, the K9 Thunder Self-Propelled Howitzer (SPH) will be in the spotlight at this year’s land power exposition hosted by the Association of the US Army (AUSA). The 155mm/52-calibre gun will be on show alongside with the K10 Ammunition Resupply Vehicle (ARV) at AUSA 2022, to be run on October 10-12 at Walter E. Washington Convention Center, Washington D.C. The display of K9 family vehicles follows their successful demonstration of compatibility with various US munitions at Yuma Proving Ground, Arizona, in September. The latest live demonstration was conducted under the Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA) framework signed between Hanwha and US Army Combat Capabilities Development Command Armaments Center (DEVCOM AC) in 2021, with the aim of assessing the feasibility, performance and capabilities of carrying and firing the US munitions by Hanwha’s artillery platforms.
The K9 Thunder is a best proven tracked platform, allowing genuine, sustained 360 degree firing solutions, delivering consistent, accurate, rapid effects at +40km range with high rates and volumes of fire. The K10 is a fully automated ammunition resupply vehicle designed to be used in conjunction with the K9. Based on the same chassis of the K9 SPH, the ARV carries a total of 104 rounds and possesses the same mobility as the K9. At Yuma, Hanwha’s gun crew demonstrated the capabilities of K9A1 SPH and K10 ARV by loading and firing different types of US ammunition, such as 155mm M795 projectiles, XM1113 Rocket Assisted Projectiles (RAP), and Modular Artillery Charge System (MACS) charges.
“Along with those great, legacy weapon systems such as K9, Hanwha Defense has striven for delivering robotics and autonomous systems with superb and tailor-made capabilities since 2006. Arion-SMET is the latest edition to this effort that would stand strong at the era of ushering in Manned-Unmanned Teaming (MUM-T), and recently gets lots of attentions from the domestic and international market as its functionalities are easily expandable and its capabilities are very competitive,” said Seo Youngwoo, Executive Vice President of Hanwha Defense’s Department of Defence Robotics and Autonomous Systems Development.
“The demonstration successfully met all of its CRADA objectives, having shown the full interoperability of K9 and K10 vehicles with US munitions and charges, in addition to the extended range, shoot and scoot and high rate of fire of the K9 system,” said John Kelly, President and CEO of Hanwha Defense USA. “The collaboration with DEVCOM AC and US Army Test and Evaluation Command at Yuma has been excellent.”
Through the live capability test, the K9A1 successfully proved its ‘Shoot and Scoot’ capability, firing multiple rounds and moving out of the position immediately to negate the danger of counter-battery fire. In addition, the artillery showed high levels of burst fire and rate of fire with the firing of three rounds in 16 seconds, and six rounds in 45 seconds, respectively. During the show, Hanwha will also present the growth potential of K9 artillery system, which is being upgraded to the K9A2 version equipped with a fully automatic ammunition handling system. With the automated turret, the K9A2 can attain a fire rate of at least nine rounds per minute, only with three crew members. Further down the line, more futuristic K9 version, codenamed K9A3, will be developed to feature an extended firing range and remote controlled/autonomous driving modes.