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Estonia wants to buy South Korean K9 Thunder howitzers
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    Topics - Defence Matters ENG - News

    Estonia wants to buy South Korean K9 Thunder howitzers

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    TALLINN, Feb 03, BNS - Estonia wants to purchase from South Korea self-propelled howitzers K9 Thunder which according to current plans should enter service by 2021.

    Estonia wishes to buy at least 12 K9 Thunder guns whose price will be established in the course of negotiations. The commander of the defense forces, Lt. Gen. Riho Terras, will next week travel to South Korea where he will sign a relevant memorandum of understanding.

    The howitzers which are expected to arrive in Estonia by 2021 will be used by the Artillery Battalion of the 1st Infantry Brigade.

    Minister of Defense Margus Tsahkna called the procurement of self-propelled guns another leap in the development of the defense forces. He told BNS Estonia wanted to buy little-used guns which the defense forces could use for at least 30 years.

    The defense forces' artillery inspector Lt. Col. Kaarel Maesalu described K9 Thunder as a modern weapon system. One of the reasons why Estonia opted for K9 was its suitability for local conditions. The guns are easy to handle and thus suited for training conscripts, Maesalu remarked. The weapon system has performed well in live-fire exercises in winter conditions in Finland and Norway.

    As Finland wants to buy the same weapon systems, the two countries could establish a joint maintenance and repair base.

    Commenting on the possible price of the transaction, Tsahkna said the negotiations were only beginning.

    K9 Thunder self-propelled howitzers are manufactured by the South Korean defense contractor Hanwha Techwin Co. Ltd. Serial production started in 1999. With a weight of 47 tons, the gun can develop a speed of up to 65 kph. Maximum range of fire is 40 kilometers. The howitzer has a crew of five.

    Finland intends to acquire the same weapon systems as well. Although Finnish Minister of Defense Jussi Niinisto has suggested that the two countries purchase self-propelled howitzers jointly, this is not a joint tender.

    Tallinn newsroom, +372 610 8814, sise@bns.ee

    Baltic News Service

    • Published: 03.02.2017 15:56
    • LETA, BNS
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