Samsung Techwin K9 Thunder

     Notes:  K9 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 K9 program outgrew this effort quickly, becoming itís own weapons system in earnest.  The K9 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 K10, and the K9 is also produced in an export version for Turkey, the T-155. The K9 is also a contender in the final phases of the search for a replacement for Australiaís SP artillery system. The K9 was involved in the Bombardment of Yeonpyeong during the 2010 border incident. Some 300 are in service with the ROK Army.  Design work began as far back as 1989, but field testing did not begin until 1998, and service use did not begin until 1999.  In addition, a 10 test versions, known as the K9 Vajra-T, have been sold to India for field testing, and the Finnish use a version called the K9FIN Moukari (Sledgehammer).  The Indians have indicated that the Vajra-T exceeds their requirements and may, after decades of design and trial or foreign designs, may be the final winner of the Indian SP artillery competition. Estona has ordered 12 K9s, with deliveries to commence in 2020. The Norwegians are buying 34 K9s, with an option for 24 more, with delivers to start in 2019. The Egyptians have been testing the K9 since 2018, though no firm sales offers have yet been tendered. The Australians are seriously considering the K9, as it meets all the requirements for their Land I7 Artillery Replacement Program. Azerbaijan has expressed interest in the K9. Finally, the Polish Krab uses the chassis of the K9.

     The K9 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 K9 features a 52-caliber length gun with a large multibaffle muzzle brake and a fume extractor and heavy hydropneumatic recoil recuperators. The K9 has GPS, fire control computers, a land navigation system, inertial navigation and GPS, and automatic fire solution input from FIST vehicles.  If necessary, the K9ís computers are sufficient to figure their own fire solutions given data from a FIST. The K9 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 K9 may fire immediately after a halt.  By use of an automatic rammer, the K9 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 K9ís 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.) Burst fire of 5 rounds in one minute are capable, though the sustained rate of fire is 2 rounds per minute.  Sustained rates of fire of six rounds per minute are possible for 20 minutes, aster which the gun crew (except the commander), will have sustained one level of fatigue.  The gunís travel lock is electrically-actuated from the gunnerís position. Under normal circumstances, the K9 is ready to fire 30 seconds after a halt and can secure from firing position and move out within 60 seconds. The K9 carries a conveyor belt externally allowing the transfer of 12 rounds, fuzes, or charges at the rate of 12 rounds per minute from ammunition supply trucks or a ground pile.

     The K9 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 K9 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 right side of the turret to load equipment and ammunition if necessary; however, primarily reloading is supposed to be done using the K10 Ammunition Resupply Vehicle., which mates directly with the open rear turret doors of the K9ís turret. The K9 has its own 10kW APU.

     The K9 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 K9 has an air conditioner and heater. Powerful hydropneumatic shock absorbers are present on the two rear roadwheels,  Ammunition resupply is done through a hole in the rear face, or via a hatch on either side of the turret.

 

K9A1

     Also known as the K9 PIP, the K-9A1 has a new gunnerís sight with improved night vision and day vision suite. The vehicle also has a rear surveillance camera similar to that of the K1E1 tanks, and a backup camera for the driver. Finally, fire control computers and software have been improved.   It has a fully-automatic autoloader, with associated magazines. A 16kW APU has been added for operations when the engine is off; in a pinch, this APU is powerful enough to power another vehicle or command post whose power-generation mechanisms have been damaged.

 

XK9A2

     The XK9A2 (designation assigned by myself, and is provisional) is a version of the K9A1 with an unmanned turret with a fully automatic autoloader which loads projectiles and charges (the fuzes are already affixed at the time the magazines are loaded).  The fuzes get their settings via a radio link with the gunnerís fire control computer.  The commander, gunner, and driver sit in the front of the vehicle, with the driver on the right and commander on the left, with the gunner between them.  They have all access to the same equipment on the K9 and K9A1, via a hard-wired link to the fire control system.  The commander controls a CROWS-type system atop the turret, which may be aimed and fired from the commanderís position, though he must reload it by climbing through a short tunnel to the turret. For that matter, the gunner also has a tunnel to access the turret if necessary, and the commander and gunner may also fight from the turret.  Behind the crewmembers in a space for personal gear and other essential gear. The Xk9A2 is powered by the same engine as the Turkish T-155 is powered, and has the same driverís controls.

 

T-155 Firtina

     The T-155 Firtina (Storm) is a variant of the K9A1 produced for Turkey.  The first few were imported whole and in knock-down kits from South Korea, while the rest will be license-produced in Turkey. The Turks expect to have 255 in force by 2020, when production will cease. The T-155 Firtina has several differences from the K9; perhaps the greatest is the lack of the commanderís panoramic sight. The T-155 is powered by a German MTU 881 Ka-500 engine, a derivative of the K9ís engine, which develops 1000 horsepower. The turret design is modified to fit Turkish fire control equipment, their autoloader, and computers and radios, as well as to suit Turkish manufacturing methods. The T-155 also has slightly-increased armor.

     Twilight 2000 Notes: These vehicles do not exist in the Twilight 2000 timeline.

Vehicle

Price

Fuel Type

Load

Veh Wt

Crew

Mnt

Night Vision

Radiological

K9 Thunder

$1,333,465

D, A

505 kg

46.3 tons

5

24

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

Shielded

K9A1 Thunder

$1,518,235

D, A

497 kg

47 tons

5

25

Passive IR (D, G), 2nd Gen Image Intensification (G, C), Backup Camera (D), Rear CCD Day/Night Camera (D, G, C)

Shielded

XK9A2 Thunder

$1,662,881

D, A

526 kg

44.65 tons

3

25

Passive IR (D, G), 2nd Gen Image Intensification (G, C), FLIR (G, C), Backup Camera (D), Rear CCD Day/Night Camera (D, 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

K9 Thunder

127/89

35/25

850

296

Trtd

T4

TF11Sp  TS8Sp  TR8  HF14Sp  HS6Sp  HR4

K9A1 Thunder

126/88

35/25

850

298

Trtd

T4

TF11Sp  TS8Sp  TR8  HF14Sp  HS6Sp  HR4

XK9A2 Thunder

181/127

36/25

850

327

Trtd

T4

TF13Sp  TS10Sp  TR9  HF15Sp  HS7Sp  HR4

T-155 Firtina

174/122

35/24

850

340

Trtd

T4

TF12Sp  TS9Sp  TR8  HF15Sp  HS7Sp  HR4

 

Vehicle

Fire Control

Stabilization

Armament

Ammunition

K9 Thunder/T-155

+2

Fair

155mm L/52 Howitzer, K6 (C), M60 (L)

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

XK9A2 Thunder

+3

Fair

155mm L/52 Howitzer, K6 (CROWS), Mk19 (CROWS)

48x155mm, 2000x.50, 200x40mm