Artillery / Self-propelled howitzers / K9 Thunder

K9 Thunder

General Facts

  • TYPE
    Self-propelled howitzer

    South Korea

    T-155 Firtina (Turkish production)
    Thunder (nickname)

    1989 - 1996

    Samsung Techwin

    1998 - present

    South Korea - Samsung Techwin

    Well over 800 ordered

    $3.1 million for K9

    Long range
    High rate of fire
    Good mobility


The K9 is a modern self-propelled howitzer of South Korean origin. It was developed in the early 1990's as alternative for the US M109 with longer range and higher rate of fire. The K9 is also known nicknamed the Thunder.


The K9 has a conventional layout for a tracked self-propelled howitzer with the driver and engine located in the front of the hull and a large turret located at the rear. The long 155mm ordnance has a multi-slotted muzzle brake and looks rather similar to the one used on the PzH 2000. The Turkish T-155 Firtina has been derived from the K9 design.


The main armament is a 155mm L/52 howitzer which provides a good range and accuracy. The maximum rate of fire is 3 rounds in 15 seconds, 6 to 8 rounds per minute or about 2 rpm during sustained fire. Standard 155mm NATO rounds can be fired up to 30 km, a 42 km range is achieved with ERFB rounds and in theory rocket assisted projectiles can be fired out to 52 to 56 km range.


The K9 is well protected. The steel armor protects the crew from 14.5mm rounds over the frontal arc and small arms fire and shell splinters all around.


The tracked chassis provides good mobility on roads and in the field. The MTU 1.000 hp diesel engine provides a maximum speed of 67 km/h on roads.


The one and only user of the K9 is South Korea. A modified version is produced under license in Turkey as the Firtina.


K9 Thunder

The K9 is the original and most numerous version of the K9. It can be distinct from the T-155 Firtina by the shape of its turret.

T-155 Firtina

The T-155 Firtina is a modified version of the K9. It uses most of the automotive components and the same gun assembly but has a larger turret with more equipment. The main differences are the fire control and navigation systems.


The K10 is an ammunition resupply vehicle which is based on the same chassis as the K9. It features a fixed superstructure with ammunition conveyor belt arm instead of the howitzer. It carries a total of 104 rounds and possesses the same mobility as the K9. For use with the T-155 Firtina a similar type of vehicle was developed.

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