Estonia is set to purchase 12 K9 Thunder Self-propelled (SP) Howitzers from South Korea.
Colonel Rauno Sirk, director of the Defence Investment Centre in Estonia is due to sign the agreement on Tuesday, 26 June, with Shin Dong Joon and Son Jael of the Korean Trade and Investment Support Organization and Hanhwa Land Systems, the manufacturer of the K9 Thunder, respectively.
Commander of the Estonian Defence Forces (EDF) General Riho Terras and Ministry of Defence investment department chief Kusti Salm are also due to partake in the signing event, as well as other important military officers and officials including Lieutenant Colonel Kaarel Mäesalu, inspector of artillery of the EDF.
The procurement represents one of the most significant investments by the EDF in recent years. The K9 Thunder SP gun carries a 155mm howitzer with a maximum range of 40km. It was first unveiled in 1999 after the defence contract for the artillery system had been awarded to Samsung Techwin by the Government of the Republic of Korea (ie. South Korea).
It was used in operation at the bombardment of Yeonpyeong Island in November 2010 when three of the six K9 Thunder 155mm guns stationed on Yeonpyong returned artillery fire directed at the island by artillery of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (ie. North Korea), an action which resulted in several fatalities on both sides.
Other operators of the K9 Thunderbird include the defence forces of Finland and Norway. The 12 SP guns are likely to be in operation in 2021, it is reported.
Editor: Andrew Whyte
Source: ERR Uudised