The initial batch of 24 K9 Thunder Self-Propelled Howitzers (SPHs) for Poland were rolled out on October 19 as part of the first executive contract signed in mid-August this year.
The roll-out ceremony was held at Hanwha Defense’s Factory 1 in Changwon, some 300 kilometres southeast of Seoul. This proves Hanwha’s robust production capacity to deliver customers with the best-quality products at speed; the roll-out of 24 K9PL howitzers comes less than two months after signing the executive contract to provide hundreds of K9 SPHs by 2026. Under the Framework Contract, hundreds of K9 SPHs will also be manufactured in Poland from 2026 in partnership between Hanwha and Poland’s state-funded defence group, Polska Grupa Zbrojeniowa (PGZ).
About 150 distinguished guests gathered at the ceremony with the attendance of high-ranking officials from the two countries, including Eom Dong-hwan, Minister of the Defense Acquisition Program Administration; Lieutenant General Eom Yong-jin, commander of the ROK Army Logistics Command; Major General Maciej Jabłoński, Polish Army Inspector of the Land Forces; and Piotr Ostaszewski, Polish Ambassador to South Korea.
During the event, all 24 K9PL vehicles were lined up on the site, as a K9PL led the parade of advanced combat vehicles, built by Hanwha Defense. These included the K10 Ammunition Resupply Vehicle; K77 Fire Direction Center Vehicle; K21 Infantry Fighting Vehicle; Korean Amphibious Assault Vehicle; and Arion-SMET Unmanned Ground Vehicle. On top of these ground vehicles, Hanwha’s guided missiles and aerospace engines were also on display, showcasing the company’s wider range of defence capabilities through the upcoming merger of defence and aerospace affiliates of Hanwha Group.
“Today’s rollout of K9PL Self-Propelled Howitzers represents our firm commitment to satisfying the needs of Poland,” said Lee Boo-hwan, Executive Vice President of Hanwha Defense’s Overseas Business Division. “We are very confident about our strong production capacity to deliver best-quality products on time.” The 155mm/52-calibre K9 Thunder is the world’s most popular tracked self-propelled gun with over 1,700 units are already in service with nine countries. The howitzer can deliver consistent, accurate, rapid effects at +40km range with high rates and volumes of fire.
In particular, the K9 is optimized for “Shoot-and-Scoot” capability to fire multiple rounds and immediately move to a different location to avoid potential counter-fire. The K9PL is based on the K9A1 variant that features improvements such as automatic fire control, driver night vision periscopes, and auxiliary power units. Hanwha plans to upgrade the K9A1 to A2 version equipped with a fully automatic ammunition handling system. The autoloading K9A2 can fire over nine rounds per minute, with just three crewmembers. “Hanwha will be the best and most reliable partner for Poland, contributing to the Polish defence capability and industry growth,” said Son Jaeil, President and CEO of Hanwha Defense. “Moreover, we will take the lead in the globalization of South Korean weapons systems and continue efforts to develop global too-class defence products to meet the expectations of our customers around the globe.”
Sensor solutions specialist HENSOLDT will deliver its latest-technology Identification-Friend-or-Foe (IFF) products to ELTA Systems Ltd, a subsidiary of Israel Aerospace Industries Ltd. (IAI). HENSOLDT was awarded by ELTA several contracts worth approximately 10 Million Euros to deliver a number of MSSR 2000 ID and MSR1000I secondary radars including test equipment. The IFF systems working according to the latest Mode 5 NATO standard will be integrated into civil air traffic control radars as well as military air defence radars operated by several customer nations.
Military IFF systems, like civil air traffic control radars, called secondary surveillance radars (SSR), precisely identify aircraft by automatically sending interrogation signals which are answered by so-called transponders on-board friendly aircraft. Thus, IFF enables field commanders to quickly distinguish friendly from hostile forces and helps avoid friendly fire incidents. Unlike Mode 4 used hitherto, Mode 5 employs sophisticated encryption techniques to avoid hostile signal manipulation, thus ensuring that the identification process is absolutely reliable and secure. “Mode 5” is in the process of being introduced in all western armies as a precondition of joint operations of US/NATO and allied forces.
HENSOLDT is an expert in Mode 5 IFF. It is under contract to upgrade German, French and UK armed forces’ IFF systems to the “Mode 5” standard and has delivered IFF systems – including crypto devices – for ground and naval applications of several NATO nations. Among others, the company’s equipment is deployed on all German Navy ships as well as several UK Royal Navy ships. In total, HENSOLDT has more than 700 IFF systems under contract in 42 nations.
Elbit Systems UK to provide advanced Training Systems capabilities to the British Army
Elbit Systems UK has been selected to deliver the Interim Combined Arms Virtual Simulation (Deployable) ICAVS(D), a pathfinder project for the British Army’s Collective Training Transformation Programme (CTTP).
Replacing the current in-service system, Unit-Based Virtual Trainer (UBVT), by 1 April 2022, ICAVS(D) has the potential to significantly exceed the current capability in scale, size and complexity. Drawing from the latest high specification hardware and using Defence Virtual Simulation software, the platform will deliver immersive virtual training and will help inform the requirements for the future replacement of the UK’s Command and Staff Training (CAST) and the Combined Arms Tactical Trainer (CATT) systems.
Usable by both regular and reserve soldiers in the British Army, ICAVS(D) will also provide the ability to conduct experimentation and collective readiness training, from vehicle crew to Combined Arms Sub-Unit. The platform will allow for rehearsal of complex operational environments in all weathers, terrains and environments, accurately reflecting the range of operational settings and equipment expected in contemporary operating environments.
Delivered as a full service by Elbit Systems UK’s Training Support Team, ICAVS(D) will be able to support the British Army’s training at a time and place of their choosing. It can be deployed within barracks and on training areas, giving users significantly increased flexibility in when and where they are able to train.
This contract follows Elbit Systems UK’s other major training programmes for the UK Armed Forces. These include the Joint Fires Synthetic Trainer and Joint Fires Mobile Trainer for the Army, Project Selborne for the Royal Navy, and the delivery and operation of three types of aircraft through its subsidiary Affinity, for the UK Military Flying Training System.
Martin Fausset, CEO of Elbit Systems UK said:
“Increased flexibility and fidelity are crucial to the effective training of the British Armed Forces. Elbit Systems UK’s deployable, high specification platform will enable the Army, both reserve and regular, to develop and maintain operational readiness for a range of environments and scenarios. We are already delivering advanced training capabilities to the British Army and Royal Navy and are proud of our continuous work to help keep our Armed Forces prepared for any situation.”
Defence Advertising: Following the news that Sweden has spent almost $150 million on military aid for Ukraine and draws closer to NATO membership, which has not been received well by Russia;
James Marques, Associate Aerospace, Defense and Security Analyst at GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company, offers his view:
“The recent Russia-Ukraine conflict has dramatically altered the landscape of defense and security on the continent in ways that will have a massive impact on the industry. Sweden is amongst those countries whose political restraints on military activity have already been loosened – the nation will break with its doctrine of not sending arms to a war zone by supplying the Ukrainian military with 5,000 anti-tank weapons, ballistic protection and field rations.
“One of the key weapons systems that Sweden is supplying to Ukraine is the Bofors AT-4, a single-use anti-tank launcher, designed to be operated with minimal training and an ideal weapon for the fast-moving situation. Recent comments from Sweden’s Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson signal a clear break from Sweden’s historic position of neutrality.
“There are reports that Ukraine has specifically asked Sweden to send more SAAB NLAW Anti-tank systems, which have already been deployed against Russian armour and have proven to be popular, reliable and effective. GlobalData’s latest report on Sweden’s defense market found that SAAB had a 4% drop in sales in Q4 2021 but maintains strong cashflows and will likely be bolstered by increased defense spending in Europe, which now includes a significant increase in Germany’s annual defence spending to 2% of GDP.
“This initial supply of Swedish arms to Ukraine is unprecedented and along with Finland, the country is being offered elevated access to NATO’s intelligence community. Even though Sweden is unlikely to join NATO anytime soon the discussions around their possible membership have already provoked a threat of ‘serious military and political consequences’ from Russia. Historically Sweden has enjoyed strong sales in Asia and the Middle East however Russia’s remarks will only serve to draw Sweden and NATO closer, who will likely continue to purchase arms from the Swedish market.”