Hanwha has announced it has established a joint user community for the growing list of customers of its K9 Self-Propelled Howitzer (SPH).
Following confirmed orders from Australia last December and Egypt in early February 2022, the K9 now has nine countries operating or signed up to operate the system. Other operators include South Korea, Turkey, Poland, India, Finland, Norway, and Estonia, while the system is also under consideration by a number of other nations including the UK.
The user group has been established to share experience and knowledge on how best to operate the system, and to potentially agree to future upgrades and thus amortise development costs across a larger user and industrial base.
The first meeting is scheduled to be held in Changwon in South Korea in April this year, and will be attended by operating forces, logistics and maintenance organisations, and industry partners. Working groups will focus on training, operations, and maintenance.
“The K9 User Club meeting in Changwon will be an inaugural event for the K9 users to learn from each other and share experience on how to get the best out of the equipment and how to train best for the artillery solution,” European business development director of Hanwha Defense, Pasi Pasivirta said in a February 21 release. “All participants can take advantage of the venue to find the optimized operation and sustainment doctrine of the K9 artillery gun with their knowledge and know-how.”
Australia selected the AS9 Huntsman under a sole-source arrangement for its LAND 8116 Phase 1 Protect Mobility Fires requirement in 2019, and signed a contract in December 2021 for 30 SPHs and 15 AS10 armoured ammunition supply vehicles (AARV) to be built at a new plant near Geelong.