Hanwha Defense Seizes Opportunity to Expand K9 Overseas Supply Network Through User Club Meeting
SEOUL – Hanwha Defence, a leading defense company affiliated with South Korea’s Hanwha Group, has secured the opportunity to expand the overseas supply network of the world’s most popular self-propelled howitzer, the K9 Thunder, thanks to a meeting of user countries such as Norway, Finland and Estonia.
At the first meeting of a K9 user community on April 27-28 at its home in the southern city of Changwon, Hanwha Defense drew favorable reviews. The user community meeting is held regularly with a rotating host to have multiple working group sessions where each participant can share their unique experience and knowledge gained from operating K9s.
“I believe that these favorable reviews from existing users can eventually be an opportunity to expand our business and increase the number of K9 users. So this user club is a very meaningful event,” said Lee Boo- hwan, head of the foreign affairs division of Hanwha Defense. the addition of the user club meeting has been “very helpful” in attracting new buyers, especially in Europe, and getting additional orders from those already using K9s.
The K9 Users Club meeting comes as European countries ramp up their armament due to the Russian-Ukrainian war. Hanwha Defense said some participating countries have hinted at the possibility of introducing additional K9 self-propelled guns to boost their artillery power.
“As you know, the K9 is the best-selling model in the world. Many users come together to share the concepts currently in use in each country and the tactical concepts used in each country,” Lee said. “Norway, Finland, Estonia and Australia have different levels of operations in different countries.”
Hanwha Defense said the foreign delegates have broadened the understanding of each country’s K9 operational situation by sharing the characteristics and working status of K9s, the concept of artillery power operations and the direction of development, with practical mutual cooperation and support measures sought through working groups. in the fields of operation, training and maintenance.
An Estonian military official expressed satisfaction with the excellent mobility and effectiveness of the K9 on the battlefield. “It’s a very good piece of equipment. We are satisfied in terms of fire support capability and mobility,” he said, evaluating the K9s as a system that performs well in different types of terrain. “It’s effective for getting into position or staying on the roads.”
A Finnish delegate echoed with positive comments about K9’s ability to evade counterattacks after performing its fire mission. “I think it’s the ability to do the fire mission with good speed and also the ability to maneuver in our operational environment,” he said, adding that the user club meeting was a good opportunity. for specialists from different nations to exchange experiences of different operational environments. and different types of conditions.
Norwegian officials said their army improved its firepower with the K9 system. “We’re really pleased with what we’ve seen so far on how well the K9 is able to handle the state of the weather.”
The K9 is by far the most popular self-propelled howitzer in the world. Egypt signed a $1.7 billion contract in February 2022 to introduce the K9A1, the upgraded version of the K9, and support vehicles, becoming the eighth foreign country to adopt the artillery system after Turkey , India, Poland, Norway, Finland, Estonia and Australia.
Australia signed a $730 million contract in December 2021 to locally produce 30 AS9 Huntsman and 15 refueling vehicles. The deal to produce AS9 Huntsman, the Australian version of Hanwha Defence’s K9, marked the first time Australia has acquired major defense equipment from an Asian nation.
With the help of a state defense research organization, Hanwha Defense has successfully completed the development of K9A2 core technology that would strengthen its bid for arms acquisition programs in Britain and in other advanced countries. Hanwha Defense has formed an industrial partnership with local defense contractors in Britain to supply the K9A2, the most advanced version of the K9, which features a fully automated turret and composite rubber tracks.
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