Lockheed Martin Joins UK K9 Thunder Howitzer Program

Lockheed Martin UK has joined the Hanwha Defense-led Team Thunder to manufacture the K9A2 Self-Propelled Howitzer for the UK Mobile Fires Platform (MFP) artillery program.

The K9A2 will be an “advanced variant” of the existing 155mm/52-caliber K9A1 self-propelled, tracked howitzer that will feature “improved lethality, mobility and survivability,” the South Korean defense firm stated.

The K9A1 has a maximum range of 40 kilometers (25 miles) and a speed up to 67 kilometers (47 miles) per hour. Over 600 K9A1s have been sold worldwide. 

Mobile Fires Platform Program

The UK government has earmarked 800 million pounds ($1.05 million) for the decade-long MFP program to replace the 90s-era AS-90 self-propelled, tracked howitzer.

Currently in the concept phase, the program reportedly calls for 18 guns with initial operating capability by early 2029 and 116 with full operating capability by 2032.

The AS, manufactured by Vickers Shipbuilding and Engineering, Ltd. (later owned by BAE Systems Submarine Solutions), is due to retire by 2030. 

Locally Manufactured

The upgraded gun will be manufactured locally by a team including Pearson Engineering, Horstman Defence Systems, Leonardo UK, and Soucy Defense.

Vice President and Managing Director for Lockheed Martin UK’s Ampthill, Lee Fellows, said: “Along with other Team Thunder partner’s expertise, our advanced systems, specialty engineering, and digitally-enabled production facility will provide the modern capabilities needed to manufacture in-country, bring into service and support the K9A2.”

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