Samsung Techwin K-9 Thunder

     Notes:  K-9 development began as an upgrade program for their K-55s (versions of the US M-109A2) to bring them up to the M-109A6ís level, in the early 1990s.  The K-9 program outgrew this effort quickly, becoming itís own weapons system in earnest.  The K-9 became operational in 1999, and remains the South Koreansí top mobile artillery solution.  The South Koreans have since been working on an ammunition supply vehicle, the K-10, and the K-9 is also produced in an export version for Turkey, the T-155 Firtina (Storm). The K-9 is also a contender in the final phases of the search for a replacement for Australiaís SP artillery system. The K-9 was involved in the Bombardment of Yeonpyeong during the 2010 border incident. Some 300 are in service with the ROK Army; the Turks expect to have 355 in force by 2020.

     The K-9 is an advanced self-propelled howitzer, similar in concept and performance to SP howitzers such as the US M-109A6 Paladin, German PZH-2000, and Israeli Slammer.  The K-9 features a 52-caliber length gun, GPS, fire control computers, a land navigation system, inertial navigation and GPS, and automatic fire solution input from FIST vehicles.  If necessary, the K-9ís computers are sufficient to figure their own fire solutions given data from a FIST. The K-9 can begin to fire within 3 phases of a halt and begin to lay fire without the aid of an FDC if the target's location is known.  With the help of fire input from a FIST vehicle or FDC, the K-9 may fire immediately after a halt.  By use of an automatic rammer, the K-9 may decrease reload time to 1 for one minute every ten minutes.  Like most advanced artillery pieces, it is capable of MRSI fire missions and of limited direct-fire combat.  The gun is capable for firing for an hour solid before gun deformation occurs and the gun must be cleaned out, The gun is a beefy multibaffle muzzle brake and a fume extractor. The K-9ís gun is able to launch all Western and Chinese 155mm rounds, including exotic rounds like Copperhead and other CLGP rounds.  (It could probably fire newer rounds, but hasnít tested with such.)

     The K-9 has a marked resemblance to the M-109A6, though the bustle racks on the rear of the turret are armored and have an AV of 3.  The K-9 has decent armor protection for its type of vehicle, and has automatic targeting laser detection, which automatically launches smoke grenade s in the direction of the targeting radar; these smoke grenades also burn in IR and UV bands. There are medium-sized doors on the sides of the turret to load equipment and ammunition if necessary; however, primarily reloading is supposed to be done using the K-10 Ammunition Resupply Vehicle., which mates directly with the open rear turret doors of the K-9ís turret. If necessary reloading is done from other vehicles such as trucks or piles on the ground, and the K-9 (and K-10) carry three powered conveyor belts for this purposes.  The K-9 has its own 10kW APU.

     The K-9 is powered by a German MTU MT 881 Ka-500 diesel engine, produced under license from Germany, and developing 800 horsepower.  The transmission is an adaptation of that found on the US M-1A1 tank.  The suspension is hydropneumatic. The commander and primary loader have hatches on the roof; the commander has a manually-rotating cupola with a weapons mount, while the loader does not have a cupola, though he has vision blocks facing forward and to the right side.  Though it is not standard, his position is often seen with lock-down points for a medium machinegun on a tripod. The driver is in the front left, opposite the engine/power pack. The driver has three wide-angle vision blocks to the front and angles to the sides, and he has an interface and map LCD screen at his position, which also allow him to navigate via waypoints.  The commander uses the gunnerís sights via an elbow telescope, while the gunner has a full complement of sights, including three telescopic sights that may work with the night sights.  The commander does have his own image intensifier, on a channel to one of his vision blocks, as well as a panoramic sight, and he can aim and fire his gun from under cover.  He also has the MAPS system, similar to the US Blue Force/Red Force Tracker system. The crew is protected by an NBC Overpressure system, with a vehicular NBC backup.

     The T-155 Firtina has several differences from the K-9; perhaps the greatest is the lack of the commanderís panoramic sight. The T-155 is powered by a German MTU 881 JKa-500 engine, a derivative of the K-9ís engine, which develops 1000 horsepower.

     Twilight 2000 Notes: This vehicle does not exist.

Vehicle

Price

Fuel Type

Load

Veh Wt

Crew

Mnt

Night Vision

Radiological

K-9 Thunder

$1,664,406

D, A

505 kg

46.3 tons

5

24

Passive IR (D, G), Image Intensification (G, C)

Shielded

T-155 Firtina

$1,660,656

D, A

505 kg

46.5 tons

5

24

Passive IR (D, G), Image Intensification (G)

Shielded

 

Vehicle

Tr Mov

Com Mov

Fuel Cap

Fuel Cons

Config

Susp

Armor

K-9 Thunder

122/85

24/17

850

280

Trtd

T4

TF11Sp  TS8Sp  TR8  HF14Sp  HS6Sp  HR4

T-155 Firtina

174/122

35/24

850

340

Trtd

T4

TF11Sp  TS8Sp  TR8  HF14Sp  HS6Sp  HR4

 

Vehicle

Fire Control

Stabilization

Armament

Ammunition

K-9 Thunder/T-155

+2

Fair

155mm L/52 Howitzer, M-2HB (C), M-60 (L)

48x155mm, 1000x.50, 1000x7.62mm

 

Daewoo K-55

     Notes: The first K-55s (also known as M-109A2Ks) were virtually stock M-109A2s supplied and later license-produced in South Korea.  Thus, the K-55 was primarily an M-109A1B with 27 improvements to Reliability, Availability, and Maintainability (RAM) mid-life improvements (MLUs). The gun is a 39-caliber 155mm howitzer, capable of firing all 155mm howitzer rounds available by the mid-1980s.  The K-55 has traded shots across the DMZ on occasion.  The K-55 is powered by a Detroit Diesel 8V71T 450 horsepower turbocharged diesel, with a semiautomatic transmission and mostly conventional driverís controls.  The driver is on the front right side, while the rest of the crew is in the turret or directly behind it (one loader). The commander has a manually-operated cupola with all-around vision blocks and a weapons mount.  The primarily loader has a hatch on the left of the turret, but no vision blocks or weapon mount (though it was a common modification).  The K-55 can produce a fire rate of 6 rounds per minute for 5 minutes, or a sustained fire rate of 3 rounds per minute; a raised fire rate is hard work, while a normal rate of bombardment is normal work.  Like the M-109A2, the K-55 has a 10kW APU.

     The K-55A1 improvement installed a number of improvements, from the ability to fire all Western and Chinese 155mm rounds, further automotive improvements, installation of a fully automatic transmission, an automatic loader with power rammer, a 50-liter water tank, a crew ration heater/water heater, an integrated power pack, and improved gearing allowing for higher speeds despite the actual engine not having been changed.  The K-55 typically carries ERA on its glacis, sides, turret sides, and the front one-third of the turret front.  It can directly interface with the K-10 FAASV.  GPS, a ballistic computer for both indirect and direct fire (though HEAT rounds are rarely carried, and then only two or three). and a ruggedized laptop with a mapping module linked to the GPS and secondary inertial navigation.  The commander has an LCD telling him the vehicle and ammunition state.  The commander has a full panoramic sight, with another vision block having a mil-ring for the artillery placement and pointing.  The gunner has the same sort of ring.  These were only partially effective and were not included on the K-9.  The K-44A1 is fitted with NBC Overpressure with a vehicular NBC system backup.  In extremis, the K-55A1 can come up with its own fire solutions, but accuracy will suffer; double scatter ranges.

Vehicle

Price

Fuel Type

Load

Veh Wt

Crew

Mnt

Night Vision

Radiological

K-55

$970,825

D, A

500 kg

27.5 tons

6

20

Passive IR (D, G), Image Intensification (G)

Shielded

K-55A1

$1,369,621

D, A

505 kg

28.5 tons

5

22

Passive IR (D, G), Image Intensification (G, C)

Shielded

 

Vehicle

Tr Mov

Com Mov

Fuel Cap

Fuel Cons

Config

Susp

Armor

K-55

122/85

24/17

511

166

Trtd

T4

TF8  TS4  TR4  HF10  HS3  HR3

K-55A1

134/94

27/19

511

166

Trtd

T4

TF8  TS4  TR4  HF10  HS3  HR3

 

Vehicle

Fire Control

Stabilization

Armament

Ammunition

K-55

+2

Fair

155mm L/39 Howitzer, M-2HB (C), M-60 (L)

48x155mm, 1000x.50, 1000x7.62mm