Military & intelligence

Norway Buys South Korean Howitzers in ‘Milestone’ Improvement of Land Capabilities

K-9 Self-Propelled HowitzerStarting from November, the Norwegian Armed Forces raised their readiness amid what Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Støre referred to as “the most serious security policy situation in decades”. Apart from buying howitzers, Norway’s military plans include new main battle tanks.The Norwegian Defense Material Agency has ordered additional K9 self-propelled howitzers and armored vehicles from the South Korean Hanwha Aerospace.The acquisition is an option exercised as part of the NOK 1.8Bln ($180Mln) contract signed in 2017.The new deal will see the South Korean manufacturer produce and deliver four 155mm K9 Thunders and eight K10 ammunition supply vehicles to the Norwegian military within the next two years.Once delivered, Norway would have 28 K9 systems and 14 K10 ammunition supply vehicles.The acquisition of new self-propelled weapon systems is part of Norway’s plan to bolster its land capabilities amid what it referred to as increasing threats. Oslo will also buy additional infantry fighting vehicles to support the army’s forthcoming fourth mechanized battalion.The country is also poised to procure a new main battle tank, with Germany’s Krauss-Maffei Wegmann (Leopard 2A7) or South Korea’s Hyundai Rotem (K2 Black Panther) being the two main candidates.Hanwa Aerospace Vice-President Kwak Jong-woo called the contract to deliver additional K9 and K10 systems a “key milestone” for enhanced defense cooperation with Norway. He also called Oslo a “pillar” in expanding the community of K9 users worldwide.MilitaryNorway’s Boosting Military Readiness is Unprecedented, Moscow Says2 November 2022, 11:01 GMTThe K9 Thunder ranks among of the world’s most popular tracked self-propelled howitzers.Known as Vidar within the Norwegian military, it has a range of up to 40km and is fitted with the so-called “shoot and scoot” capability, which allows it to fire multiple rounds and change its position immediately to avoid enemy fire.The latest modification to the K9 Howitzer is a fully automatic ammunition handling system, allowing the weapon to fire nine rounds per minute.Since 2001, eight countries have ordered the system: India, Poland, Finland, Turkey, Australia, Egypt, Estonia, and Norway, reinforcing South Korea’s stance as arms exporter.Starting from 1 November, the Norwegian Armed Forces raised their readiness amid what Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Støre referred to as “the most serious security policy situation in decades”, citing increased tensions and exposure to threats, intelligence and influence. Moscow slammed this decision as an unprecedented step, vowing to respond to any unfriendly actions of Oslo.

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