Norway has bought the K9 Thunder 155mm self-propelled howitzer, reports the Norwegian Defence Materiel Agency. The contract includes 24 new howitzers and an unspecified number of K10 designated ammunition resupply vehicles. In addition to this there is an option for the purchase of another 24 howitzers. The initial cost is 1.8 billion NOK, and that will grow to 3.2 billion NOK if Norway uses its option for additional vehicles.
The K9 Thunder is a South Korean made vehicle with a shooting range up to about 40 kilometers. It weighs 47 tons and has a maximum speed of 65 km/h. It is operated by a crew of five persons.
Norway will be the third European country to buy the K9 Thunder, after Finland and Estonia announced their decisions to buy it earlier this year. Poland also has howitzers based on the K9 chassis but they have been refitted with other equipment and are called the AHS Krab.
The deliveries of the artillery vehicles will begin in 2019, and the delivery will be completed in 2021. Six of the vehicles will be used at the Army’s school in Rena, and 18 will be part of Brigade Nord and stationed in Setermoen.
At present Norway has 56 American made M109A3GN self-propelled howitzers. They were originally bought in 1969-1970 as M109G and later upgraded in Germany to the M109A3GN standard. Of these 14 are in actual use by the Army, and 42 are in storage.