I actually attended a firepower demonstration for one of these before and I found the K-9 to be quite an impressive piece of equipment:
The South Korean government on Wednesday signed a 1.5 trillion won (US$1 billion) deal with a local manufacturer to produce hundreds of K-9 self-propelled howitzers, the defense procurement office said.
Samsung Techwin, an arms affiliate of the country’s largest conglomerate Samsung, will also supply hundreds of K-10 armored mobile munition vehicles by 2012 under the contract, according to the Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA). [Yonhap]
The K9/K10 system is one of the best self propelled artillery system in the world and superior even to the US M109 “Paladin” system and vastly superior if equipped with the K10 package that automatically reloads the main artillery piece. However, before the system was even fielded to the ROK Army it was being sold and exported abroad. The first country the developer of the K9, Samsung Techwin, sold the system to was Turkey who received its first batch of K9s in 2004 and has since bought the license from Samsung Techwin to domestically produce the K9 in Turkey. Turkey is expected to field a force of 300 K9s by 2011. This total deal for Samsung Techwin was worth a reported $1 billion US dollars.
The Turkish Army calls it the T-155 Firtina. ROK Drop readers may also remember that the Turkish Army also bought the XK-2 tank from Korea. There is also a munitions deal that has been struck between the two nations as well.
Here is a video of the K-9 in action:
Samsung Techwin is continuing to test the system for potential international buyers such as Malaysia, Australia, and Spain to name a few interested countries. The K9 is expected to claim 31% of the world’s self propelled artillery market by 2015 making them the world’s leaders in this field over rivals such as Germany and Japan.