The Finish Minister of Defense Antti Kaikkonen has approved the proposal by the Finnish Defence Forces to acquire additional K9 Thunder self-propelled howitzers from the South Korean military surplus.
The deal covers the acquisition of spare parts, related equipment and services.
“The procurement will significantly improve the firepower of the Army,” the Finish military said in a release.
In 2017, Finland procured pieces of the self-propelled howitzer K9 for the first time as part of inter-state trade from the Government of South Korea-operated Korea Trade-Investment Promotion Agency KOTRA. Concerning altogether 48 pieces of the self-propelled howitzer, the trade agreement included an option for the procurement of 48 pieces of the self-propelled howitzer of which 10 have been procured for the Army so far.
“This additional procurement will significantly improve the firepower of the Army. Key advantage of this system is that it combines elements of mobility, force protection and firepower. As such, the self-propelled howitzer has turned out to be reliable and provided excellently validated use case experiences both relating to training persons liable for military service and conducting fires,” Inspector of Artillery, Colonel Pertti Holma from the Army Command said.
The total value of the procurement is c. 134 million euros and it will be funded from the state’s amending budget included additional funding for rapidly launched defense materiel procurement.
It comes amid Finland’s intentions to join NATO and Russia’s constant threats against itself.
Finland shares a 1,300 km (810-mile) border with Russia. Until now, it has stayed out of Nato to avoid antagonizing its eastern neighbor.