AUSA Washington DC: The Republic of Korea’s Hanwha Defense presented its growing defense product range for the third time at AUSA with a particular emphasis on its combat vehicle line.

Hanwha’s display highlighted the K-9 ‘Thunder’ 155mm Self-propelled Howitzer and its accompanying K10 Advanced Ammunition Resupply Vehicle (AARV). This vehicle combination addresses the dual challenges of achieving continued responsive indirect artillery fire support while utilising the mobility offered by self-propelled guns.

The latest K9A1 uses automatic loading, inertial navigation plus GPS, has onboard auxiliary power, enhanced night and degraded visibility capability and crew protection. It takes position and fires within 60 seconds and is then ready to move to a new position in 30 seconds.

A burst of three rounds can be fired in 15 seconds while a rate of 6-8 rounds per minute can be sustained for three minutes. The long barrel 155mm 52 caliber howitzer has a range of up to 25 miles (40km) with base bleed and 31 miles (50km) using RAP (rocketed assisted projectiles).

Assuring that the firing guns are able to maintain these rates of fire even on the move is accomplished by the K10. A fully-automated robotic ammunition resupply vehicle, it carries 104 rounds of 155mm projectiles plus 504 propellent units.

Without leaving the vehicle the crew of four can transfer ten rounds per minute allowing it to completely replenish a K9 howitzer in five minutes! Automated ammunition management allows for selecting and moving exactly the types of ammunition desired.

Many armies neglect to providing survivable artillery support on the peer-on-peer battlefield. Given its export orders from Turkey, Poland, Finland, Estonia, Norway, and India – it appears that Hanwha’s solution has been recognised worldwide.

by Stephen W. Miller