Estonia has received the first two of 18 contracted K9 Kõu (Thunder) self-propelled howitzers, according to a recent Estonian Defense Force news release.
At the end of August, the first two K9 155 mm howitzers arrived from South Korea to Estonia, which, after refinement, will be used in the artillery battalion of the 1st Infantry Brigade. In total, 18 self-propelled howitzers purchased by the Defense Forces will arrive in Estonia over the course of three years.
“The process, which began two years ago, has gone so far that we can start technical tuning of the guns to fully meet our needs. This is one of the most important defense purchases of the Defense Forces in recent years, the purpose of which is to strengthen, above all, the means of firing from closed positions, ”said Defense Minister Jüri Luige.
“Estonia, in cooperation with Finland, simultaneously purchased important weapon systems and vehicles, such as air surveillance radars. We have now purchased the first K9 mobile artillery from South Korea, which is to replace the 155mm artillery artillery of the 1st Infantry Brigade of the Artillery Division, ”said Lieutenant Colonel Kaarel Mäesalu, commander of the Mobile Artillery Procurement Project.
The K9 is now, one of the most popular self-propelled artillery howitzers in the world. The K9 Thunder was designed and developed by the Agency for Defense Development and Samsung Aerospace Industries for the Republic of Korea Armed Forces and is now manufactured by South Korean Company Hanwha Defense.
“The K9 is a well-adapted and modern weapon system suitable for the conditions of Estonia, which was introduced in South Korea back in 1999. This weapon system also fits well into the Estonian climate, because South Korea, like Estonia, has four seasons and large temperature fluctuations, ”added Lieutenant Colonel Mäesalu.
The artillery systems, which have already arrived in Estonia and will arrive in South Korea in the next three years, are maintained and ready for use, but upon arrival in Estonia they will first be modified: the Estonian Defense Forces will be painted over, then the vehicles will enter the 1st artillery division infantry brigade, which is transformed into a mobile artillery battalion.
In total, Estonia will purchase 18 mobile units for a total of 83 million euros, including training for instructors and maintenance personnel, special tools and spare parts.