K10 Ammunition Resupply Vehicle and the K9 Thunder Self-Propelled Howitzer. Image – Hanwha Aerospace

Hanwha Aerospace signed a contract with Romania to supply 54 K9 Self-Propelled Howitzers (SPH) and 36 K10 Ammunition Resupply Vehicles (ARV). Signed on 9th July by Hanwha Aerospace and the Romanian Ministry of National Defence, the roughly $1 billion contract also includes ammunition and support vehicles.

Romania has become the 10th customer nation operating the 155mm/52-calibre K9 SPH. Among the NATO members, Romania is the sixth K9 user nation following Türkiye, Poland, Norway, Finland and Estonia. Following Norway and Australia, Romania will also be the third global operator of the K10, which enables a fully automated re-supplying capability to maximize the efficiency of artillery forces.

Under the contract, Hanwha will deliver the vehicles in stages over the next five years, with the first delivery to be made by early 2027. Most of the vehicles are to be manufactured in Romania with an extensive involvement of local suppliers.

As part of efforts to broaden its partnership with Bucharest, Hanwha Aerospace is offering the Redback Infantry Fighting Vehicle (IFV) for Romania’s IFV modernization program.

K9 Thunder Self-Propelled Howitzer

Developed in 1999 alongside South Korea’s Agency for Defense Development, the K9 SPH, is a tracked artillery system that can deliver precise, long-range firepower (over 40 kilometers) at a rapid pace.

Weighing in at 47 tons, the K9 excels at “shoot and scoot” tactics. It can unload multiple rounds and then quickly relocate to avoid enemy counter-fire.

The K9 is constantly evolving. The K9A1 variant boasts an upgraded, fully automatic ammunition handling system. This next-generation autoloader allows the system to fire over 10 rounds per minute, all while reducing crew requirements to just three.

In 2022, the K9 User Club was launched for the K9 user countries to share experience, know-how of operating the K9 systems in terms of operation, maintenance and training. Over 1,800 K9 vehicles are in service with nine countries, accounting for some 50 percent the global SPH market, according to Hanwha.

K10 Ammunition Resupply Vehicle

Built on the same chassis as the K9, the K10 carries a payload of 104 rounds of 155mm artillery ammunition and 504 propellant charges, ensuring the K9 can keep firing even in the heat of battle.

The K10’s true strength lies in its automation. With a transfer rate of up to 12 rounds per minute, it can fully reload a K9 in under 40 minutes. This efficient system keeps the K9 firing and maneuvering seamlessly.