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New Team Thunder member to be announced, updates on MFP bid

Hanwha Defense's K9 SPH (pictured) is Team Thunder's offering for the UK MFP programme (Hanwha Defense)

An additional member of Team Thunder – currently comprising Hanwha Defense, Lockheed Martin UK (LMUK), Leonardo, Pearson Engineering, Horstman Defence Systems, and Soucy Defense – will be announced very soon, LMUK officials told Janes.

Richard Claydon, head of Capture – Platform Integration Programmes – LMUK, told Janes at an LMUK briefing on 7 September that prime contractor Hanwha Defense intends to announce a new teammate at DVD 2022, subject to due diligence. The new member will be UK based, conforming to the team strategy, Claydon added.

Team Thunder is offering the K9A2 self-propelled howitzer (SPH) for the GBP800 million (USD920.2 million) UK Mobile Fires Platform (MFP). The K9A2 variant has increased firepower, mobility, and survivability compared with the K9A1 variant, and will feature a fully automated ammunition handling system, reducing the crew size from five to three. Claydon noted that a Hanwha Defense K10 fully automated Robotic Ammunition Resupply Vehicle (ARV) would plug into the back of the K9A2, enabling the automatic reload of ammunition.

Claydon also detailed the continuing progress of the MFP, noting that a pre-qualification questionnaire (PQQ) was expected in the first quarter (Q1, January–March) of 2023. However, he expressed concerns about this timeline, given that the team is waiting for the key user requirements, initially scheduled to be released in November 2022.

Following the PQQ, Claydon expects that two competitors will be downselected for the MFP. Other contenders include Krauss-Maffei Wegmann (KMW) Boxer Remote Controlled Howitzer (RCH) 155, as well as BAE Systems Archer truck-mounted system. The Boxer RCH 155 and the K9A2 platform will most likely be downselected, Claydon said.

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