South Korea plans mass production of 155mm extended-range artillery shells


South Korea plans mass production of 155mm extended-range artillery shells

February 14, 2024

By:Army Recognition

This year, South Korea will initiate mass production of new 155mm ammunition for its self-propelled artillery units, the K9 Thunder, according to the Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA). This announcement comes after the successful development of the ammunition in a multi-year project.

The development of the projectile, which began in 2014 with research and development work initiated in 2017, has been officially completed, as confirmed during a meeting between representatives of DAPA and Poongsan defense company, responsible for manufacturing the ammunition.

In August 2023, experts deemed the projectile suitable for combat use, and DAPA subsequently issued a certificate of conformity to Poongsan in July 2023, marking a significant milestone in the project. This certification serves as the green light for the commencement of mass production of the military product.

The new projectile, designed to have an extended flight range, is expected to enhance the capabilities of the K9 self-propelled artillery units. DAPA placed an initial order of 2,000 units of the 155-mm projectiles with extended flight range in 2023, scheduled for delivery by the end of 2024.

One notable feature of the new projectile is its approximately 30% longer flight range compared to existing ammunition. This extended range is achieved through the incorporation of an additional solid fuel charge, setting it apart from the high-explosive munition with a rocket accelerator used in the bottom of the K307.

The standard ammunition for the K9 Thunder, the M107 self-propelled guns produced by Hanhwa under license from American General Dynamics Ordnance and Tactical Systems, boasts a target range of up to 18.8 km.

South Korean authorities anticipate that the new development will not only meet domestic needs but also attract international demand, potentially boosting the export potential of the 155-mm K9 self-propelled howitzer of national design.

The move to mass-produce the new ammunition signals South Korea's commitment to enhancing its military capabilities and underscores its aspirations to become a key player in the global defense market.