Ground Warfare

Vietnam Sets Sights on K9 Thunder Self-propelled Howitzer Procurement

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Vietnam Sets Sights on K9 Thunder Self-propelled Howitzer Procurement

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Vietnam Sets Sights on K9 Thunder Self-propelled Howitzer Procurement
Vietnam Sets Sights on K9 Thunder Self-propelled Howitzer Procurement

Vietnam’s Ministry of Defence (MoD) has revealed its intention to acquire the K9 Thunder self-propelled howitzer (SPH) from South Korea’s Hanwha Aerospace for integration into the People’s Army of Vietnam. Vice-Minister of National Defence Hoang Xuan Chien articulated this plan during the ’11th Korea-Vietnam Defense Strategy Dialogue’ convened in Hanoi on April 23rd. The dialogue, serving as a platform for regular consultations between the Vice Ministers of Defense of both nations, underscores their commitment to enhancing mutual defense cooperation and industry collaboration. Initiated in 2012, this bilateral forum has facilitated annual exchanges aimed at bolstering defense ties.

Mutual appreciation was expressed for the strides made in defense exchanges and cooperation, with a consensus to intensify collaboration across multiple domains, including maritime security, cyber defense, and defense industry logistics. Moreover, both parties resolved to reinforce cooperation in maritime security, cyber defense, and logistical support. As part of efforts to broaden defense and industry collaboration, the dialogue culminated in an agreement to incorporate the newly identified areas of cooperation into the existing bilateral defense agreement inked in 2010. The Vietnamese official sought cooperation from the Korean government to facilitate this objective.

Vietnam's Ministry of Defence (MoD) expressed an intention to procure the K9 at the ‘11th Korea-Vietnam Defense Strategy Dialogue' held in Hanoi
Vietnam’s Ministry of Defence (MoD) expressed an intention to procure the K9 at the ‘11th Korea-Vietnam Defense Strategy Dialogue’ held in Hanoi. (Photo by South Korea’s Ministry of Defense )

Chien, acknowledging the caliber of Korean weaponry systems, signaled Vietnam’s interest in expanding defense industry cooperation, specifically mentioning the integration of Korean platforms such as the K9 Thunder 155 mm self-propelled howitzer into Vietnam’s military. Vietnam’s pursuit of new artillery systems aims to replace outdated inventories, including 1ASU-85 85mm assault gun, Gvozdika 122mm self-propelled artillery 2S1 , and 2S3 Akatsiya 152mm self-propelled artillery. With reports indicating the intent to procure 108 units of 155 mm howitzers, this move underscores Vietnam’s strategic modernization efforts to equip its armed forces with advanced capabilities.

The K9 Thunder is a South Korean 155 mm self-propelled howitzer designed and developed by the Agency for Defense Development and private corporations including Dongmyeong Heavy Industries, Kia Heavy Industry, Poongsan Corporation, and Samsung Aerospace Industries for the Republic of Korea Armed Forces, and is now manufactured by Hanwha Aerospace. K9 howitzers operate in groups with the K10 Ammunition Resupply Vehicle variant. the K9 series has had a 52% share of the global self-propelled howitzer market, including wheeled vehicles, since the year 2000. The entire K9 fleet operated by the Republic of Korea Armed Forces is now undergoing upgrades to K9A1, and a further upgrade variant K9A2 is being tested for production.

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