DSEI 2021 – Hanwha Defense has formed an international partnership with leading defence manufacturers in the UK to develop a local variant of the K9 Thunder self-propelled howitzer for the British Army.

The companies have come together as ‘Team Thunder’ to bid to manufacture and
supply self-propelled howitzers for the Royal Artillery as part of the Mobile Fires
Platform Programme operated by the Ministry of Defence.

The firm say that local production to bring manufacturing jobs and investments to UK; potential for UK to become regional hub within Hanwha Defense’s global supply chain and that the K9 ‘UK variant’ will feature a fully automated turret and increased rate of fire.

During DSEI 2021, running from September 14-17, at ExCel, London, Hanwha Defense
is to sign memorandums of understanding (MOUs) to form “’Team Thunder,’ which
includes Leonardo UK; Pearson Engineering; Horstman Defence Systems; and Soucy
Defense of the Soucy Group.

Lockheed Martin UK is also in talks to join the Team Thunder and more partners may be announced later.

“Team Thunder will be a key pillar of Hanwha Defense’s bid for the Mobile Fires
Platform programme, and the formation of Team Thunder demonstrates a firm
commitment to bringing the maximum benefit to the UK industry through a robust
partnership with local suppliers,” said Vice President Mr. Oh Kyehwan of Hanwha
Defense’s Overseas Business Division.

“We believe the combination of UK industrial expertise and South Korean technology will generate an incredible level of synergy.”

The firm say that other localiSation plans will include training programmes to support workforce development and provide opportunities for local graduates and apprentices.
Hanwha Defense has already had positive experiences of industrial partnerships in
Poland and India with regards to the manufacturing of K9 vehicles, whilst industrial
capability programs are also taking shape in Australia for potential production of K9’s
Australian version ‘AS9 Huntsman’ under the LAND 8116 Protected Mobiles Fire
program.

“The Team Thunder partnership is established with one eye on the export market with
the potential for the UK to become a regional hub within the global supply chain of the
2,400 K9 family vehicles, including K10 ammunition resupply vehicles.”

For the MFP programme, Hanwha Defense will offer the most advanced version of the
K9 155mm/52-calibre Self-Propelled Howitzer (SPH), called the K9A2, which is being
developed to feature enhanced firepower, protection and mobility.

The K9A2 is to be equipped with a fully automated turret capable of firing nine rounds
per minute. With the automated turret, the number of crew is to be reduced from five to
three. A plan is being examined to equip the K9 with composite rubber tracks, which
will bring several benefits, including improved road mobility.

Nearly 1,700 K9 variants are in service with seven countries including South Korea, Turkey, Poland, Finland, India, Norway and Estonia.

Australia would be the eighth customeroperating K9 vehicles, as the country is in the process of acquiring 30 AS9 Huntsman vehicles and 15 K10 armoured ammunition resupply vehicles.

 

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John N
John N
4 days ago

Actually here in Oz the plan is for two batches of AS9 Huntsman SPGs and AS10 auto loader ammunition supply vehicles.

First batch is for 30 AS9 and 15 AS10, then a follow up of the same number of vehicles for a total of 60 AS9 and 30 AS10.

The plan is for manufacture in Geelong (south west of Melbourne) Victoria.

Hanwha is also planning local manufacture of 450 AS21 Redback IFV in the same facility if they beat KF41 Lynx in the Land 400 Ph 3 IFV competition.

Cheers,

John Hartley
John Hartley
4 days ago

Something light enough to be carried in an A400M, would be my choice.

Hermes
Hermes
4 days ago
Reply to  John Hartley

So, something more close to the french CAESAR (8×8 armored better) than a tracked artillery system. More for a shot and run doctrine.
The Czechoslovakia just announced their order for 52 of them.

Maybe the Archer (not sure if it fit in the A400M) for a full armored (no soldiers on the ground).

Last edited 4 days ago by Hermes
John N
John N
4 days ago
Reply to  Hermes

Wheeled SPGs are certainly more likely to be able to be transported by air, compared to a tracked SPG.

But, they are usually much less well protected and survivable too, would I want to be crew of a wheeled or tracked SPG? I think tracked.

Cheers,

PS, by the way, Czechoslovakia does not exist anymore, not since the end of 1992, formally separated into Czech and Slovak Republics on 1 January 1993.

Hermes
Hermes
4 days ago
Reply to  John N

Yes my bad, I dont have always the right translation for countries… (I think its easy to understand with my english level hum… I’ll try my best) About the protection its obvisouly a component to take in account for the final choice. But I dont think that a Pzh2000 or K9 offer really much more protection than what you can find with an Archer but more than a CAESAR even 8×8 (armored) since you have people on the ground. All of that is in first how you use your stuff. For UK, which have a similar thinking than France for… Read more »

Last edited 4 days ago by Hermes
John N
John N
4 days ago
Reply to  Hermes

Mate, when it comes to ‘shoot and scoot’ you should check this video out:

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=kcnc66tQlxg

K9 is the clear winner, no one has to dismount and the gun is ready to fire much much quicker too.

Cheers,

Hermes
Hermes
4 days ago
Reply to  John N

It’s more than that. I know that the K9 is a pretty badass system. It’s the overall (Projectability, costs, combat efficiency, ammunitions) with the fact that armor on these systems can be secondary depend on where they are used. I mean, of course for a front system the Pzh2000 or K9 is far better option. But if you need to go anywhere in the world from UK, maybe it can be interesting to look at others systems. (CAESAR 6×6 can fit in a C130, the 8X8 in an A400M) Other point, K9, PZH2000 or CAESAR all of these have already… Read more »

Branaboy
Branaboy
3 days ago
Reply to  Hermes

I propose the South African Canal G6 155mm/52 system. BAE was once affiliated with Denel

https://militaryleak.com/2018/10/01/denel-g6-52-self-propelled-howitzer/?amp.

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=l_naSGd57PE

It is very mobile, provides operators protection, is mine resistant, battle tested and improved tough African and Middle East conditions and it is air transportable in a C17 or A400M

Reaper
Reaper
4 days ago
Reply to  Hermes

Arent we scrapping half our tracked artillery or already have? Smaller nations have far bigger tank and artillery fleet….

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
3 days ago
Reply to  Reaper

AS90 Regiments are 3, reducing to 2.

Once there were 6.

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
4 days ago
Reply to  John Hartley

These would be for the 2 regiments supporting our armoured brigades or HBCT. Doubt there would be much need for rapid deployment of them by air when if a major op overseas demanded the heavies it would in all likelihood have a long build up time in which case the Points just carry all you need there by the hundred. Lighter rapid deployment for forward deployed forces akin to 16AA, the Army S Ops Bde ( which incidentally formed recently, at least in name ) and the RM FCF who all could be needed to deploy rapidly by air and… Read more »

John Hartley
John Hartley
3 days ago

DM. Heavy by sea is great if you have the time, but I think of how many wars could have been nipped in the bud, if we got a small, but well armed force there in time. I am fed up with Army, RN, RAF, buying kit without considering how they move each others stuff. C-17, C-5, An-124, all long out of production. So A400M is the largest Western airlifter in production at the moment. My fantasy airlifter, would be something that looks like an XXL A400M, but can lift 60 tons. A joint US/European project to get enough orders… Read more »

Peter S
Peter S
4 days ago

* UK tries to upgrade IFV – doesn’t work, cancelled.
* UK tries to replace reconnaissance vehicle fleet in a programme emphasising local content. All major components imported. Doesn’t work.
* UK decides to use non upgraded IFV in reconnaissance role
* UK wants to upgrade its SP artillery-
Do you
* buy an overseas design that’s as old as the vehicle it replaces with a promise of local content?
* modernise your existing vehicle?

Reaper
Reaper
4 days ago
Reply to  Peter S

We should be designing and building a Family of vehicles with common parts to fill multiple roles the army will need, future MBT, IFV, Artillery ect why havent we invested money into doing just that, oh yeah we wasted billions on warrior, Ajax ect..

Peter S
Peter S
3 days ago
Reply to  Reaper

There’s an interesting new article on Breaking Defense by a RUSI analyst. It identifies the continuing UK problem of a mismatch between global ambitions and the available budget. The result is repeated acquisition problems, failure to maintain and upgrade existing assets, ever smaller numbers and consequent poor value for money. We need a much clearer focus on what we need to do and where. Then you plan your equipment programme. The integrated review did none of this. In some ways, by its emphasis on global Britain, it has made the problem worse. Given the small size of our army, I… Read more »

Johan
Johan
8 minutes ago
Reply to  Peter S

One of the main issues is Army Procurement is that they want to do Everything. RN hard to screw up a £1b warship, unless you use un-proven equipment and tech, RAF design process and development can take decades and buy a fixed type.
Army what everything to be like a swiss army penknife but never use half the attachments they added.

Nigel Collins
Nigel Collins
4 days ago

It could be some time before we see them enter front line service in numbers.

“The MFP program seeks to acquire 116 self-propelled howitzers. A request for proposals is scheduled to be issued in 2022, and Britain plans to award a final contract in 2025.”

https://www.defensenews.com/industry/2021/06/02/skoreas-hanwha-pitches-k9-howitzer-for-british-mobile-fires-program/

Reaper
Reaper
4 days ago
Reply to  Nigel Collins

Dnt we have far less than that just now? So we will be getting more than we currently have, that’s rare.

Reaper
Reaper
4 days ago

How come South Korea builds everything from new tanks to new artlery and the UK can’t do Jack anymore…it’s a tad annoying.

John N
John N
4 days ago
Reply to  Reaper

It’s an industrial powerhouse, has been for decades.

And of course with North Korea on its doorstep, suspicion of Japan (a long history between those two nations), and China too, all those factors add up.

I remember as a kid here in Australia in the early 1960s, all the cheap ‘junk’ came from Japan, then it stopped being junk and became too expensive, then the cheap junk came from South Korea, that’s all changed too, now the cheap junk comes from China.

John Hartley
John Hartley
3 days ago
Reply to  John N

South Korea gave its industrial firms cheap loans to build them into global players. Meanwhile Boris abandoned UK industrial policy (platitudes & wishful thinking) to appease Merkel.

David Steeper
David Steeper
3 days ago
Reply to  John Hartley

Sheffield Forgemasters !

John Hartley
John Hartley
1 day ago
Reply to  David Steeper

Need to do the same for Liberty Steel. Even more important to have a British source of steel, now China has put an export tariff of 25% to deter its steel going abroad, as it wants all its steel for its own projects.

Lordtemplar
Lordtemplar
4 days ago

BAE Archer seems to be a more cost effective solution, better for UK industry, and A400 compatible.
Also rubber tracks havent been proven on such heavy vehicles. Not sure the UK should be guinea pigs in this experiment, esp after Ajax. I’d say keep it simple.

OldSchool
OldSchool
3 days ago
Reply to  Lordtemplar

Being homegrown the UK should look at Archer ( which I haven’t looked at admittedly) but certainly at Hanwha. Indeed given the constant disasters in UK Army procurement I’d be looking at checking what the Aussies are using ( learn from others experience). Ajax I’d just drop like a hot rock and check out the Boxer variants the Australian army is developing ( on paper they look good tho I’ve heard they are having problems with the turret on the 35mm version) -learn from others is cheaper than repeating the same mistakes constantly. It can’t hurt to ask friends sbout… Read more »

Fedaykin
Fedaykin
3 days ago
Reply to  OldSchool

Archer isn’t homegrown, its Swedish developed by Bofors prior to being taken over by BAE Systems. It is no more home grown then many other products in BAE Systems product portfolio like the MK45 MOD 4 being fitted to the Type 26.

Johan
Johan
4 minutes ago
Reply to  Fedaykin

agree BAEs is not a British company its a multinational and as bad as the rest. Only uses the British when its pushing bullshite.

Monkey spanker
Monkey spanker
3 days ago

The mod procurement specialists will be asking the stand staff if they have any bigger vehicles or are Korean soldiers really small🙈
They should just buy everything armoured from Korea and ask for some kind of trade (70% contract cost invested in or bought stuff from the uk)
Clearly the army can’t do anything when it comes to getting vehicles. At least then they know what the have and can ask for advice with training etc.
That gets us out the hole we are in. Then try and start again perhaps with sensible modular vehicle future procurement.

David Steeper
David Steeper
3 days ago

Well whatever they buy I just hope they keep the Army procurement mob as far away from it as possible. Otherwise we’re well and truly ‘flipped’

Monkey spanker
Monkey spanker
3 days ago

Can I price check on recon vehicle 500 for 2022,
2023: ifv 500
2024 artillery 155mm 120
2025, 2500 4×4
2026 250 mbt

How much more does an army of our size need? At least it would be a good starting point