Business leaders and engineers from five defence companies in the U.K. visited the manufacturing facility of the K9 Self-Propelled Howitzer (SPH) in South Korea to move ahead with plans to compete for the U.K. Mobile Fires Platform (MFP) program. The companies include Lockheed Martin U.K.; Leonardo U.K.; Pearson Engineering; Horstman Defence; and Soucy Defense. Hanwha is leading the team to bid for the MFP program aimed at procuring up to 116 self-propelled guns for the British Army.
During the visit, the delegates took a tour of the K9 production line in Changwon, about 300 kilometres south of Seoul, to learn the manufacturing details, indicating the potential fora K9 facility in the U.K.
The K9 is a 155mm/52-calibre tracked artillery platform is in service with seven countries around the world, including NATO countries such as Poland, Norway and Estonia. The platform offers genuine, sustained 360-degree firing solutions, delivering consistent, accurate, rapid effects at +40km range with high rates and volumes of fire, including Multiple Round Simultaneous Impact.
Sun Wi, Director of MFP programme at Hanwha Aerospace Land Systems Business Group, said: “This is a very meaningful and exciting opportunity for Team Thunder partners to gather in Korea and learn the manufacturing capability of the K9, the world’s most favoured self-propelled gun. Together as Team Thunder, we are establishing ways of manufacturing K9s in the U.K. in support of the MFP program.”
Pasi Pasivirta, Director of Business Development Europe for Hanwha Aerospace Land Systems Business Group, said: “The K9A2 is the most advanced and credible artillery platform for the U.K.’s MFP programme, offering a ‘tried, tested and trusted’ solution. The need to outpace and outfight adversaries has been reinforced by recent geopolitical events.”
There are over 1,700 units already in service with seven NATO and allied nations, including Turkey, Poland, Norway and Estonia. More recently, Australia and Egypt have joined the K9 User Club, bringing the number of K9 customer countries to nine, while Poland signed a framework agreement in July 2022 to procure over 600 more of K9s.