Norway Buys More K9 Howitzers, Armored Vehicles From S. Korea
The Norwegian Defense Material Agency (NDMA) has ordered additional K9 self-propelled howitzers and armored vehicles from South Korea’s Hanwha Defense.
The acquisition is an option exercised as part of the 1.8-billion-kroner ($180 million) contract they signed in 2017.
The new deal will see the South Korean company produce and deliver four 155-millimeter K9 Thunders and eight K10 ammunition supply vehicles to the Norwegian military.
“The latest option contract for the additional delivery of [K9 and K10] is a key milestone for enhanced defense cooperation between Hanwha and Norway,” Hanwa Vice President Kwak Jong-woo said.
He further stated that Oslo is a key pillar of the expanding community of K9 users worldwide, and that the company would “devote our sincere effort to … contribute to enhancing Norwegian defense capabilities.”
All deliveries are expected within the next two years.
Once delivered, Norway would have 28 K9 systems and 14 K10 ammunition resupply vehicles.
The K9 Thunder
Known as the Vidar in the Norwegian military, the K9 Thunder is one of the world’s most popular tracked self-propelled howitzers.
It can hit targets at up to 40 kilometers (25 miles).
It also has a “Shoot-and-Scoot” capability, allowing it to fire multiple rounds and immediately move to a different location to avoid counter-fire.
The latest variant of the K9 Howitzer has been equipped with a fully automatic ammunition handling system to enable the weapon to fire nine rounds per minute.
Since 2001, eight countries have ordered the system, including India, Poland, Finland, Turkey, Australia, Egypt, Estonia, and Norway.
Bolstering Land Capabilities
The acquisition of new self-propelled weapon systems is part of Norway’s plan to bolster its land capabilities amid increasing threats.
The country will procure a new main battle tank from Germany’s Krauss-Maffei Wegmann (Leopard 2A7) or South Korea’s Hyundai Rotem (K2 Black Panther).
Oslo will also acquire additional infantry fighting vehicles to support the army’s upcoming fourth mechanized battalion.