The K9 Thunder HOWITZER SELF-PROPELLED is the world’s most advanced self-propelled howitzer, developed by Korea using their own technology. The K9 performs admirably, with a long shooting range for firefighting and a fast firing speed for real-time, laser-focused firepower. The original contract was awarded to Samsung but later sold to Hanwha.

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It is a unit that can move quickly after being shot and has outstanding maneuverability and survivability. Furthermore, we have created a customized self-propelled howitzer that satisfies the needs of numerous countries as well as NATO criteria. It has good operational capabilities in a variety of conditions, from deserts to icy fields, and it is being sold to other countries.

VIDEO: K9 Thunder Self-Propelled Howitzer from Korea

K9 Thunder Self-Propelled Howitzer Video from Korea


In the late 1980s, the Republic of Korea Army outlined its requirements for a new indigenous 155 mm tracked howitzer to fulfill the demands of the twenty-first century.

Key operational requirements were a faster rate of fire, a larger range, improved accuracy, and shorter entry and exit times. The K9 Thunder’s development began in 1989.

It was created to replace the M109A2K, also known as the K55. In 1994, the first prototypes were completed. This artillery system was put into service in 1999.

South Korea ordered 1 136 of these howitzers in all. Finland bought 48 of these howitzers in 2017 for delivery.

K9 Thunder Specification Chart

Country of originSouth Korea
Entered service1999
Dimensions and weight
Weight47 t
Length (gun forward)12 m
Hull length?
Width3.4 m
Height2.73 m
Main gun155 mm
Barrel length52 calibers
Machine guns1 x 7.62 mm
Muzzle velocity?
Projectile weight?
Maximum firing range30 – 40 km
Maximum rate of fire6 rpm
Elevation range– 2.5 to + 70 degrees
Traverse range360 degrees
Ammunition load
Main gun48 rounds
Machine guns?
EngineMTU MT 881 Ka500 diesel
Engine power1 000 hp
Maximum road speed66 km/h
Range480 km
Side slope30%
Vertical step0.75 m
Trench2.8 m
Fording1.5 m
9 Thunder Specification Chart

100 of these artillery systems were ordered by India. At least 25 units were reportedly delivered to the Indian Army in 2018. 18 of these artillery systems were ordered by Estonia.

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Deliveries began in 2020 and are scheduled to end in 2023. 24 of these artillery systems were ordered by Norway. Australia ordered these artillery systems in 2021, which included the manufacturing of the AS9 Huntsman howitzer and the AS10 ammunition resupply truck in Australia.


Local manufacturing in Australia is set to commence in 2024. After lengthy discussions, Egypt reached an agreement with South Korea in 2022 for technology transfer and local production of the K9 howitzers. 1 700 K9 howiterz were produced by 2022.

K9  Quick Specification Table
K9 Quick Specification Table

K9 Thunder Price and Cost

It is estimated that the k9 Thunder cost around $3.19 Million depending on the upgrades and variants.

Unit cost4 billion KRW or $3.19 Million dollars (for the ROK Armed Forces)
ProducedK9: 1999–2018 K9A1: 2018–present
No. built1,700 (2020)
VariantsK10 ARV K11 FDCV T-155 Fırtına AHS Krab



K9 Thunder may fire its first round within 30 seconds of receiving firing information from the Fire Direction Center (FDC) while positioned. It can shoot after 60 seconds while moving. K9 Thunder can quickly shift away from its previous location after firing in anticipation of the enemy’s counter-fire before launching its next shot.

 SHOOT AND MOVE TImes for K9 Thunder
SHOOT AND MOVE TImes for K9 Thunder

K9 Howitzer Armament and Artillery Guns

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K9 howitzer armament and Guns

The primary weapon is a 155mm/52 calibre gun. It can fire three rounds every 15 seconds in burst mode and six to eight rounds every minute for three minutes in continuous mode.

For one hour, the sustained rate of firing is two to three rounds per minute. The K9 Thunder was created to meet the most recent tactical idea of shot and scoot.

The automatic firing control system in the K9A1 upgrade incorporates a text-based DOS system, a graphical Windows system, an electronic time data loader, and a digital map.

The gun has a maximum range of 18km and can fire a normal M107 high-explosive (HE) bullet.

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The maximum range of the HE rocket assisted projectile (RAP) with a five-zone uni-charge is 30km. It can also fire a K307 projectile with a six-zone modular charge for a maximum range of more than 40km.

Firefighting Onboard fire-control equipment regulates the gun’s firing. The data might be sent via a data digital radio link or voice communications. The projectiles are loaded into the ammunition tray by the automatic loading mechanism and are ready to fire. The K9 Thunder may fire within 30 seconds of standing still or within 60 seconds of moving.

K9 Thunder Firing Ranges

Compatible with NATO 155mm standard ammunition, with a JBMoU-compliant combustion chamber volume of 23L. Firing Ranges from 18km to 50Km depending on the ammo used.

K9 Thunder Firing Ranges
K9 Thunder Firing Ranges

K9 Thunder Rate of Fire

The K9 can fire three shots in less than 15 seconds with a maximum rate of fire of six to eight rounds per minute for three minutes. For one hour, the sustained rate of firing is 2 to 3 rounds per minute.

K9 Thunder Rate of Fire
K9 Thunder Rate of Fire

K9 Self-propelled howitzer Construction and Design

The K9 Thunder platform is constructed entirely of welded steel armour protective material. A Modular Azimuth Position System is used in the design (MAPS).

An automatic fire-control system (AFCS), a motorized gun elevation/depression system, and a turret traverse system are all included. The hydro-pneumatic suspension system provides excellent ground clearance and mobility on a variety of terrains.

K9 Thunder Armor and Protection

The internal crew and onboard equipment of the K9 Thunder are protected from 155mm shell fragments, 14.5mm armor piercing shells, and anti-personnel mines. The on-board air purification equipment and gas masks for the crew ensure survivability in NBC warfare circumstances.

K9 Thunder Armor and Protection
K9 Thunder Armor and Protection

The welded steel design of the K9 Thunder protects the crew and on-board equipment from 155mm shell fragments, 14.5mm armour piercing shells, and anti-personnel mines.

For NBC warfare, an air purification system and on-board personnel gas masks are provided.

K9 Thunder Engine and Mobility

K9 Thunder’s 1,000hp diesel engine allows it to maneuver and traverse a variety of conditions and terrains.

K9 Thunder Mobility
K9 Thunder Mobility

The Allison ATDX1100-5A3 transmission powers the MTU MT 881 Ka-500 8-cylinder water cooled diesel engine of the K9 Thunder. The engine produces 1,000hp and has a power-to-weight ratio of 21.6hp/t.

The enhanced K9A1 variant’s auxiliary power unit may offer up to 8kW (10.7hp) of additional power. The propulsion system has a top speed of over 67 kilometers per hour and a cruise range of 360 kilometers.

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The K9A1 is a self-propelled howitzer type that has been upgraded to run automatic fire control units better at night.

The driver’s night vision periscopes and auxiliary power units have also been improved. For firing support and direct engagement, the K9A1 self-propelled howitzer has a large shooting range, high velocity firing, and rapid day/night displacement.

It also boasts outstanding agility and the ability to target specific targets with its firepower.

Automatic fire control
Operating system improvements: Text-based DOS system to Graphical Windows system, digital map and electronic manual, and more.
Interoperability and expandability: Interoperate with the electronic time data loader and enable extended range ammunition firing
Positioning deviceAdded Inertial Navigation System (INS) + GPS System
Pilot night periscopeImproved night-time periscope: using Uncooled thermal type method instead of Stray light amplification method
Auxiliary power unit8 kW or higher engine
Rear View DisplayRearview display when moving in reverse

The K9A1 and K9A2 upgrades

For increased efficiency, the K9A1 model has innovations such as an autonomous fire control system, a driver’s night periscope, and an auxiliary power system. The updated K9A1 has a longer range, a faster fire rate, and more mobility during the day and at night.

Hanhwa offered the K9A2, an upgraded derivative of the K9 Howitzer, for the UK’s Mobile Fire Platform program, which aims to improve the British Army’s artillery capabilities.

The K9A2 is expected to improve the artillery’s fire rate, automatic ammo loading, and other capabilities.

The enhanced variant is currently being tested. Hanwha Defense and the Korean government-owned research and development agency, Agency for Defense Development, are implementing the development program.

K9 Thunder orders and deliveries

In December 1998, the South Korean government granted a contract to Samsung Aerospace Industries (SSA) for the K9 Thunder. In 1999, the Republic of Korea Army received the first batch of K9.

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In 2001 Turkey buys the K9, Turkish Land Forces Command (TLFC) has agreed to purchase K9 Thunder from Samsung. In December 2009, 150 units were supplied to the Turkish Army.

In April 2017 India buys the K9, Larsen &Toubro, an Indian multinational engineering business, struck a technology transfer agreement with Hanwha Techwin to construct the K9 Vajra howitzers for the Indian Army. In February 2021, the business delivered the final K9 Vajra howitzer, completing the program to provide 100 Vajra howitzers to the Indian Defense Ministry.

K9 Howitzer Thunder
K9 Howitzer Thunder

In September 2020 Australia buys the K9, the Australian Army chose the K9 howitzer as the optimal solution for the LAND 8116 program’s Protected Mobile Firepower requirement. Delivery and number are unknown at this time.

Other countries that source the k9 Thunder include Poland, Estonia, Finland, Norway, Egypt.


Hanwha was once part of Samsung. Here

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I am Trevor Eason an entrepreneur, a designer, web developer, and software engineer currently living in Dallas, TX. My interests range from technology to photography. I am also interested in entrepreneurship, gaming, and basketball. I run my own Tech Win Reviews blog. Hope you will join me for all your Samsung and Tech Reviews and recommendations.

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