Participants in the second K9 User Club meeting listen to a presentation about Hanwha Aerospace’s K9 self-propelled howitzers of Hanwha Aerospace in Narvik, Norway, on Feb. 6. Photo courtesy of Hanwha Aerospace

K9 artillery user nations take part in dedicated meeting

Hanwha Aerospace announced on Feb. 7 that representatives from six countries operating its 155mm/52-calibre K9 self-propelled howitzer (SPH) had gathered in Narvik, Norway, to attend the second K9 User Club meeting.

The meeting is scheduled to be held until Feb. 9.

The K9 User Club was launched in April 2022 in Changwon, the K9 manufacturing hub in South Korea, to share experience, knowledge, and know-how on the operation, maintenance, and training of the K9

SPH in service with seven countries _ South Korea, Norway, Estonia, Finland, Poland, India, and Türkiye. Australia and Egypt have also signed contracts to operate K9s in the coming years.

For this year’s meeting, the first of its kind in Europe and among NATO countries, military representatives from South Korea, Norway, Finland, Estonia, Poland, and Australia are sharing the status and plans for operating their K9 artillery, while Canada has joined the meeting as an observer, according to Hanwha.

Global defense companies, including Kongsberg from Norway, and CBG from Australia, also joined the user community to present technologies enhancing industry partnership and collaboration over the development of K9 artillery systems.

, Director of European Business Development, Hanwha Aerospace, said: “The K9 users can learn from each other and share experience and know-how of operating the K9 Self-Propelled Howitzer to get the best out of the equipment,” Hanwha Aerospace Director Pasi Pasivirta said.

“In this regard, the K9 User Club serves as the venue to find the most optimized operation and sustainment doctrine of the K9 system.”

On the second day of the user club meeting, the participants join working group sessions to discuss how to get the best out of the K9 systems with regard to maintenance, tactics, and training.

On the third day, the user group is scheduled to visit the Center of Excellence at Norway’s Bjerkvik Technical Workshop and the Setermoen training area to observe the live fire and maneuvers of the Norwegian K9 Versatile Indirect Artillery (VIDAR) systems.

Norway operates 24 K9s and 10 K10 ammunition resupply vehicles, with an additional contract signed in 2022 to procure four more K9s and 10 more K10s.

“Compared to old guns we had, now we increase or double the range of our artillery systems,” Colonel Kjartan Søyland, head of the Norwegian School of Artillery and Army Air Defense, said.

“The K9 is easy to use and easy to educate and train, which is the key strength of the K9 Self-Propelled Howitzer. It also works well in the snowy winter conditions.”

The K9 Thunder is one of the world’s most popular self-propelled howitzers with over 2,000 units are already in service around the globe.

The tracked howitzer can deliver consistent, accurate, rapid effects at a +40km range with high rates and volumes of fire.

The K9 is particularly optimized for “shoot-and-scoot” capability to fire multiple rounds and immediately move to a different location to avoid potential counter-fire.