Hanwha Techwin said Monday it has completed the first shipment of chassis for 120 K-9 self-propelled howitzers to be assembled in Poland for the Polish Army, that reported by www.edaily.co.kr.
The firm exported the chassis and related parts in accordance with a deal signed in December 2014 between Polish defense contractor Huta Stalowa Wola (HSW) and what was then Samsung Techwin. Hanwha Group took over the firm and renamed it Hanwha Techwin in July 2015. The contract is worth approximately $310 million.
The Defense Agency of Technology and Quality, a state-run defense research center in Seoul, said it ensured the quality of the K-9.
The K-9 met driving performance and other qualification criteria set by the Polish Army, according to defense officials.
“The shipment this time is bringing attention to the K-9 from European markets, in which we had difficulty finding customers,” a Hanwha Techwin official said on condition of anonymity. “We’ll use this as a chance to bolster marketing in Northern and Eastern European countries. We also expect we’ll able to expand our business to the Middle East and Asia.”
Hanwha Techwin said at least seven countries in Asia, Europe and Africa consulted with its officials to purchase the K-9 in the Eurosatory, a defense exhibition held last week in Paris.
“We’re about to strike a deal with one Asian country to export about 100 K-9s,” a Hanwha Techwin official said. “We think African countries are also interested in the K-9 in line with our government’s efforts to strengthen military ties in the region.”
Developed in 1998, the K-9 replaced K-55 howitzers and has been one of the core weapons used by South Korea’s Army.
It has a maximum speed of 67 kilometers per hour and its 155-millimeter gun has a maximum range of 40 kilometers. The K-9 can fire off a three-round burst in a period of 15 seconds.
It was used to counter North Korea’s artillery shelling of Yeonpyeong Island near the disputed maritime border in the West Sea in November 2010.
In 2011, Turkey purchased 350 K-9s on a technology transfer basis, which requires a seller to provide the parts and technology. The trade value was estimated at about $1 billion.