South Korea to upgrade K9A1 howitzers

by Kapil Kajal

South Korea has announced plans to upgrade the RoKA's K9A1 self-propelled howitzers. (Hanwha Defense)

South Korea's Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA) has announced plans to upgrade K9A1 Thunder 155 mm/52 calibre self-propelled howitzers (SPHs) and 120 mm self-propelled mortars (SPMs) in service with the Republic of Korea Army (RoKA).

A DAPA spokesperson told Janes on 31 May that a visit by the agency earlier that month to the RoKA's Capital Mechanized Infantry Division in Gapyeong had identified about 15 upgrade requirements.

The spokesperson said that these upgrades include “installing additional footrests for the K9A1 SPHs and preparing a plan to shorten the alignment time of the 120 mm self-propelled mortar inertial navigation system”. The spokesperson added, “Most of [the upgrades] are tasks that can improve the safety, convenience, and operational efficiency for operators.”

These upgrades are newly identified based on input from the operating RoKA unit, the spokesperson added. However, DAPA is “still internally looking into whether or not to execute the identified tasks to applicable weapon systems, how much funds are required, and how long it would take to finish [the] upgrades”, the spokesperson said.

According to Janes World Armies,

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Slovakia receives first Patria AMV XP 8×8 armoured combat vehicle

by Nicholas Fiorenza

Slovakia received its first AMV XP 8×8 vehicle – an ambulance version – on 26 September. (Slovak MoD)

Slovakia received its first Patria 8×8 Armoured Modular Vehicle (AMV) XP on 26 September for integration work by local companies, the Slovak Ministry of Defence (MoD) announced on its website later the same day.

The vehicle is in ambulance configuration and is scheduled to enter service with the Slovak Armed Forces in 2024 after integration work on it is completed. General Daniel Zmeko, Chief of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of the Slovak Republic, said the vehicles would replace “hopelessly outdated” BVP-1 infantry fighting vehicles (IFVs).

Slovakia signed a government-to-government agreement with Finland for 76 AMV XPs – 60 armoured combat vehicles, 10 ambulances, and six command vehicles – in August 2022, with deliveries scheduled to be completed in 2027.

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Partner 2023: Zastava debuts new 30 mm autocannon

by Christopher Petrov

The M12 (top) is a 30×173 mm calibre autocannon that is already being fitted to Serbian armoured fighting vehicles. (Janes)

Serbia's Zastava has developed a new 30 mm autocannon that can fire NATO-standard munitions.

The company debuted its M12 autocannon at the Partner 2023 defence exhibition in Belgrade, and is already delivering the system for upgrades to in-service Serbian military armoured fighting vehicles, including the BVP M-80AB2.

The gas-operated autocannon has a dual-feed capability. This enables the operator to fire two types of ammunition natures without having to reload. The M12 is being offered with locally produced ammunition, currently limited to armour-piercing and high-explosive rounds.

A Zastava representative told Janes that the company hopes the M12 will offer an indigenous production capability for the autocannon for use on armoured fighting vehicles. With the M12 already selected for upgrading the BVP M-80s, there may be other upgrade opportunities for Serbian military vehicles.

The gun is reported to have a length of 3.2 m, and it is likely that used casings are ejected forwards after firing, given the dual-feed capability.

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Ukraine conflict: European countries approve new weapons donations

by Nicholas Fiorenza

Rheinmetall announced on 12 September that it had transferred a Role 2 containerised mobile field hospital to Ukraine, with two more to follow in late 2023 and early 2024. (Rheinmetall)

European countries announced new weapon donations to Ukraine in the lead up to or during the 15th meeting of the Ukraine Defense Contact Group at Ramstein Air Base, southwestern Germany, on 19 September.

In a press conference following the meeting, US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, who chairs the Ukraine Defense Contact Group, noted announcements by Germany on 18 September of a package with ammunition, mine-clearing equipment, and “other critical capabilities”; by Denmark of an USD833 million package including ammunition and armour capabilities; and by Sweden in August of a USD300 million military aid package consisting of ammunition and spare parts. He also reported that Poland told the Ukraine Defense Contact Group meeting that it had provided Ukraine with additional mine-clearing equipment and over 100 armoured personnel carriers and tens of thousands of munitions.

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