K9 Thunder SPG selected by Indian Army

k9_thunderJane’s is reporting that India’s Ministry of Defense has selected the Samsung Techwin K9 Thunder 155 mm self propelled howitzer for the Indian Army.  This program fro 100 guns is reported to be worth $800 million.  According to Jane’s, the selection of the K9 follows a set of competitive tests between the K9 and a 155mm version of Russia’s MSTA-SP (2S19) gun mounted on a T-72 chassis.  The article notes that “Senior artillery officers told IHS Jane’s that the K9 outperformed the Russian gun in operational mobility, speed, accuracy, and overall rate of fire.”  The adoption of the K9 will be the end of a long delayed program by the Indian Army to acquire a new SPG over the past two decades. In 2005 the program suffered a significant setback when the Indian Ministry of Defense banned the purchase of the Bhim SPG from the South African company Denel.  The Bhim consisted of a Denel T-6 155mm gun turret on the chassis of the Indian designed Arjun tank.  Considering the numerous set-backs and issues encountered with the Arjun, perhaps it was best that India had not pursued this option.