K-9 Thunder Main Battle Tank South Korea
The Samsung Techwin K9 Thunder was one of the first L52 solutions on the market and Korea the first to deploy such a weapon in South Korea. Outside of South Korea, the K9 Thunder’s biggest success so far has been the selection of the 155/52 calibre system by Turkey in 2001, where it is known as the Firtina, with as many as 300 required. For Land 17 the Australian variant has been dubbed AS-9 Aussie Thunder. The platform has a combat weight of 43.6tonnes, is NBC protected and its all welded steel design is proof against shell fragments and medium calibre rounds.
Each K9 Thunder MBT has a maximum range of over 40km, can carry 48 rounds and can co-ordinate firing to deliver simultaneous arrival of three rounds to target, made possible by the K9’s fast fire rate of three rounds in the first 15 seconds of a fire mission. As many as 24 rounds.
Turkey has proven to be a very successful market for the Korean defence industry. The TLFC had developed a requirement for a modern 155 mm self-propelled gun system, which could then be modified with
Turkish equipment to meet their exact needs. Samsung Techwin won the tender with its K-9 Thunder system which was then modified into the Firtina configuration for TLFC featuring systems from Turkish companies such as Aselsan. The Turkish Air Force has also turned to Korea, acquiring the KT-1 training aircraft from KAI.