The Korea Herald


Hanwha inks $2.6b deal to ship more K9 howitzers to Poland

Polish defense minister hints at buying additional Korean-made weapons systems

By Kan Hyeong-woo

Published : Dec. 4, 2023 - 15:30

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A K9 self-propelled howitzer (Hanwha Aerospace) A K9 self-propelled howitzer (Hanwha Aerospace)

Hanwha Aerospace said Monday it has signed a $2.6 billion contract (3.45 trillion won) to ship 152 K9 self-propelled howitzers to Poland through 2027, taking the next step in the arms deal signed between the two sides last year.

The South Korean defense firm and the Polish State Armament Agency agreed on a framework to export Hanwha Aerospace’s 672 units of K9 self-propelled howitzers and 288 units of the multi-caliber rocket artillery system, K239 Chunmoo, in July 2022.

Later in the same year, Hanwha inked the first phase of the framework agreement to export 212 units of K9 self-propelled howitzers in August. The deal was valued at some $2.4 billion. The Korean company also signed another contract to deliver 218 units of the K239 Chunmoo in November.

The announcement marked the signing of a follow-up contract to supply a part of the remaining 460 K9 self-propelled howitzers to the Polish government under the conditions of signing financial agreements. With Monday’s second phase deal, the remaining volume of the K9 self-propelled howitzers stands at 308 units.

According to the Polish State Armament Agency, Poland will acquire six self-propelled K9 howitzers of the K9A1 version in 2025 with a plan to bring in 146 K9 self-propelled howitzers of the K9PL version in 2026 and 2027. The K9A1 version is already being used by the Korean military, whereas the K9PL version is an improved model tailored to fit the requirements of the Polish military.

With the latest deal, Hanwha Aerospace said it will work with Poland to supply 155 mm ammunition for the K9 self-propelled howitzers and offer its integrated logistics support for the maintenance and repair of them. The Korean defense company added that it will also cooperate with the Polish government for the local production of K9 self-propelled howitzer parts required for maintenance.

Polish Defense Minister Mariusz Blaszczak posted on X, formerly Twitter, that the General Staff of the Polish Armed Forces and the country’s Armed Forces General Command recommend that the Polish Army should have over 1,000 155 mm howitzers, indicating that Warsaw could be looking for additional supplies of the Korean-made weapons in the future.

Several countries -- Turkey, Poland, India, Finland, Norway, Estonia, Australia and Egypt -- have ordered the K9 self-propelled howitzers since 2001.

“We have established a continuous, cooperative relationship (with the Polish government) based on the deep trust we built with Poland as we carried out the executive contract,” said a Hanwha Aerospace official.

“We will try to make K-defense as Korea’s future growth engine by completing the remainder of the contract volume of the Polish export.”