Hanwha strengthens cooperation with Polish industry in K9 howitzer programme

By Lukasz Prus (Defence Industry Europe)

Hanwha Aerospace, the South Korean defence manufacturing giant, is cementing its cooperation with the Polish defence industry through a comprehensive programme involving the K9 howitzer. As commissioned by the Polish Ministry of National Defence, the K9PL self-propelled howitzers, a variant specifically modified for Poland, will feature a host of subsystems supplied by local Polish companies.

 

Between 2022 and 2023, Poland secured two major contracts for the procurement of K9 artillery systems from South Korea. The first contract, inked in August 2022 and valued at USD 2.4 billion, entails the delivery of 212 K9A1 howitzers to the Polish Armed Forces over the period from 2023 to 2026. This deal includes 36 howitzers from South Korean military stocks and an additional 176 new units manufactured by Hanwha Aerospace. As part of this ongoing agreement, Poland received 24 howitzers in 2022, followed by 42 in 2023, with plans to receive 70 in 2024 and over 80 in 2025.

 

 

The second contract, concluded in December 2023 with a valuation of USD 2.6 billion, covers the six K9A1 howitzers and 146 of the K9PL variant, with deliveries beginning in 2025 and extending beyond. The development of the K9PL variant is in active progress, in collaboration with Polish defence firms such as Huta Stalowa Wola and WB Electronics, among others, marking a stride in localizing production.

 

 

In comparison to the currently delivered K9A1 units— equipped with Polish-made radios, the FONET communication system, and the TOPAZ integrated combat management system — the K9PL models will be upgraded to include a laser radiation warning system from PCO, equipped with 81mm smoke grenade launchers manufactured by Zakłady Metalowe DEZAMET, a filtration ventilation system from Radiotechnika Marketing, and an air conditioning system by Webasto.

 

 

Furthermore, the agreements pave the way for a technology transfer involving the production of 155mm artillery modular charge systems (MCS), enhancing the Polish defence sector’s capabilities in munitions manufacturing. Representatives from Hanwha Aerospace have confirmed that negotiations with Polish firms regarding this technology transfer are nearing completion.

 

 

Yet, the collaboration does not end here. Hanwha Aerospace is also keen on deepening its partnership with the Polish defence sector through the development and production of the next-generation K9A2 self-propelled howitzer. This initiative offers Polish companies a chance to engage in the development and local production of this cutting-edge artillery system. The K9A2, expected to have a shooting range of 54km, will be operated by a crew of three, signifying a major leap in operational capability and technology sophistication.

 

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