The third batch of K-9 self-propelled howitzers ordered by Poland from South Korea is about to arrive. 

Recently, South Korea’s Hanwha Defense Company stated that the third batch of 12 K-9 self-propelled howitzers (A1 model) ordered by Poland has begun to be shipped, which marks that the first batch of 48 K-9s ordered by Poland has all been shipped. 

At the third batch of the K-9 delivery ceremony, it can be seen that each K-9 is marked with a specific quantity number, and the national flags of South Korea and Poland are also painted on the turret. Previously, Poland provided Ukraine with a batch of “crab” self-propelled howitzers after the Russo-Ukrainian War. 

Therefore, Hanwha Defense said that to supplement the decline in the number of self-propelled howitzers in Poland, the first batch of 48 K-9s provided by South Korea to Poland is an emergency product. , the next production for the Polish Army will be a new batch of K-9 self-propelled howitzers.

The K-9 self-propelled howitzer is a 155mm self-propelled howitzer developed by South Korea’s Samsung Shipbuilding and Heavy Industries to replace the M107 (production is in charge of Hanwha Defense).

The world’s second self-propelled howitzer with a 52-times-long barrel. At first, many subsystems of the K-9 self-propelled howitzer were composed of foreign products. For example, its fire control system was a product of Honeywell in the United States. 

The engine used a German-made MT881Ka-500 diesel engine, and the gearbox was from an American Alison company. The X1100-5A3 type and suspension system are products of the British Airlog company. But even so, the K-9’s combat effectiveness has not been reduced. 

The K-9 can fire within 30 seconds while driving, and its maximum continuous rate of fire is 6-8 rounds per minute. This indicator is only inferior to PZH-2000, K-9  has a range of 40 kilometers and 50 kilometers when launching rocket-extended range bombs and bottom discharge bombs, and its tactical indicators fully comply with NATO standards. 

Later, the localization rate of K-9 gradually increased, and the K-9A1 upgraded model and the K-9A2 model that will complete the test work in 2024-2025 were launched.

In the US$14.5 billion arms sale signed between Poland and South Korea on July 21, 2022, the total number of K-9 self-propelled howitzers reached 670, including 48 K-9A1 and 622 K-9PL type to equip 26 Polish artillery battalions/squadrons. 

The equipment plan for the upgraded K-9PL will be implemented in 2024, first produced by South Korea, and Poland will establish a K-9PL production line in its own country in 2026. Of course, among the first 48 K-9A1 self-propelled howitzers ordered by Poland, 12 were originally purchased for the South Korean Army.

 South Korea took part of the equipment purchased from its own army and handed it over to Poland to ensure early delivery progress and fill the “Vacancy handed over by the Crab artillery.

The Polish Army’s first batch of 24 K-2A1s was transported from South Korea to the Polish port of Gdynia in November last year. These K-2A1s are currently equipped with the Polish Army’s First Artillery Brigade.

Since Poland has built the strongest army in Europe and plans to replace other types of howitzers with all K-9s has become a certainty, Poland plans to completely phase out the old Soviet-made howitzers and transfer all “crab” self-propelled howitzers to Ukraine and the mass-produced version of this howitzer (equipped with K-9 chassis and AS-90 turret) was not delivered until June 2015. 

The Polish Army ordered a total of 122 self-propelled artillery of this type. After the outbreak of the Russo-Ukrainian War, Poland announced in May last year that it would provide Ukraine with the first batch of 18 “crab” vehicles. Expressed their desire to obtain an additional 60 “crab” type self-propelled howitzers.

The total number of “crab” type self-propelled howitzers equipped by the Ukrainian army on the Russian-Ukrainian battlefield remains at more than 50, but some of them have already suffered battle damage.

For this reason, Poland has also launched a large-scale repair plan for damaged Ukrainian equipment. Mechanics work in three shifts to repair the “crab” self-propelled howitzer that Poland assisted the Ukrainian army. 

They said that due to the severe damage to the self-propelled artillery equipped by the Ukrainian army during the fierce battle, the repair time of these “crab” self-propelled artillery would take up to two months.

In addition to repairing this self-propelled artillery, Polish technical experts are also responsible for training Ukrainian maintenance personnel so that they can calmly deal with the maintenance and inspection of main battle tanks and anti-tank missiles.

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