South Korean K9 Thunder self-propelled howitzer at the firing range.
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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 as 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 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 first and primary user of the K9 Thunder is South Korea. The K9 emerged as the winner of the Indian trials for a new artillery system and recently orders by European nations have been placed. Turkey produces the T-155 Firtina which uses the ordnance and a lot of subcomponents of the K9.
Left side view of South Korean K9 Thunder self-propelled howitzer on display.
Source: Citizen Network - © GNU Attribution - Share Alike license
The K10 ARV was developed to resupply the K9 self-propelled howitzer in the field.
The Turkish T-155 Firtina is based on the ordnance and automotive components of the K9 Thunder.
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