Estonia has signed a contract with South Korean group Hanwha to acquire 12 K9 Thunder artillery systems, the press service of the Ministry of Defense of the Republic of Estonia announced on Tuesday.
“This artillery procurement will bring Estonia’s defence capability to a new level and is one of the most significant steps in building up armoured manoeuvre capability,” said Col. Rauno Sirk, director of the Estonian Centre for Defence Investments (ECDI). “Estonia will have at its disposal a weapons system with the most powerful firepower yet, which is developed taking the needs of conscripts and reservists into account, and which is dependable and mobile in even extreme conditions.”
The first howitzers are scheduled to arrive in Estonia in 2020, the ECDI announced.
According to the agreement, South Korea’s company to supply twelve its K9 Thunder 155 mm/52-calibre self-propelled tracked howitzer under a contract worth €46 million.
The process of selecting the most suitable artillery system for Estonian conditions began in 2016. In the course of the process, experts from the Estonian Defence Forces (EDF), the Ministry of Defence and the ECDI assessed various weapons systems, and the results of the analyses indicated that the K9 Thunder was the most modern self-propelled artillery system with the greatest combat power, according to a press release.