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South Korea approves performance upgrades for K9 howitzers

South Korea has approved a project to upgrade the striking capability and turret of K9 Thunder SPHs in service with the RoKA. (Hanwha Aerospace)

South Korea's Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA) has approved a project to upgrade the performance of K9 Thunder 155 mm/52 calibre self-propelled howitzers (SPHs) in service with the Republic of Korea Army (RoKA).

According to a press release by DAPA on 26 June, theproject will boost the striking capability of K9 howitzers. The howitzers will also be equipped with automated turrets and crew safety equipment as part of the project.

DAPA allocated KRW2.36 trillion (USD1.8 billion) for the project between 2023 and 2027.

“The project will improve performance through domestic research and development. It will reinforce the rapid strike capability and improve combat efficiency by automating the feeding and loading of the K9 turret,” DAPA said.

A DAPA spokesperson earlier told Janes that the upgrades are identified based on the input from the RoKA and will improve the safety, convenience, and operational efficiency of K9s.

According to Janes World Armies, the RoKA operates 1,136 K9s. The K9 family of tracked SPHs was designed and manufactured by Hanwha Aerospace to replace the country's M109A2 155 mm/L39 tracked SPHs.

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