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Poland Receives First Korean Battle Tanks, Howitzers

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Two South Korean defense firms have shipped their first tanks and self-propelled howitzers to Poland less than two months after the $5.76-billion deal was inked.

Hyundai Rotem delivered the first 10 of 180 K2 Black Panther main battle tanks, while Hanwha Defense transferred the first 29 of 212 K9 Thunder artillery system.

Poland ordered the K2 tanks for 16 billion Polish zloty ($3.26 billion) in July, and delivery is expected to be complete by 2025.

The 212 K9 howitzers, along with ammunition, training, and logistics, are valued at 11.4 billion Polish zloty ($2.32 billion) and are to be delivered over four years.

“Today’s rollout of K9 Self-Propelled Howitzers represents our firm commitment to satisfying the needs of Poland,” said Hanwha’s Executive Vice President Lee Boo-hwan. “We are very confident about our strong production capacity to deliver best-quality products on time.”

The newly-acquired weapons are part of Warsaw’s efforts to ramp up its arms imports to bolster the country’s defense amid the ongoing Russian invasion of Ukraine.

K2 Main Battle Tank

Hyundai Rotem’s K2 main battle tank is the primary armored vehicle of the South Korean military.

The 55-ton (49,895 kilograms) vehicle is equipped with an extended 55 caliber 120mm turret gun and new ammunition for better firepower.

The tank also features an advanced suspension and navigation system, enabling high mobility and maneuverability for the Asian nation’s challenging topography.

“The survivability of the K2 MBT has been reinforced with armored plates made of new material and an active protection system, while its 3D battlefield control capability has been enhanced with the Vetronics system and the combat command and control system,” Hyundai said.

K9 Self-Propelled Howitzer

The 47-ton (42,637 kilograms) long-range weapon has “fire combat and fast firing speed capabilities for real-time, quick-focused fire power.”

“K9 Thunder can fire its first round within 30 seconds from the moment it first receives firing information from the Fire Direction Center while in an emplaced situation,” Hanwha Defense said.

“While moving, it can fire after 60 seconds. After firing, K9 Thunder can quickly move away from its last position in anticipation of the enemy’s counter fire, before firing its next shot.”

The K9 Thunder howitzer is equipped with a 1,000 horsepower diesel engine, allowing it to easily traverse diverse environments and terrains.

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