After 10 years, Egypt finally buys Korea's K-9 howitzers
Korea will export over 2 trillion won ($1.66 billion) worth of self-propelled K-9 Thunder howitzers to Egypt, DAPA said, citing an agreement signed between Hanwha Defense and the Egyptian Ministry of Defense in Cairo on Tuesday.
“This is the first time we are exporting to a country in Africa, following our exports to Asia, Europe and Oceania,” said DAPA in a statement Tuesday. “With this deal, Egypt has become the ninth country in the world, including Korea, to operate the K-9 self-propelled howitzers.”
The export agreement was the largest for K-9s signed by Hanwha with any party.
Last December, Australia signed a 1.9 trillion won K-9 contract during President Moon Jae-in's visit to the country.
The agreement with Egypt was also finalized after a presidential visit to the country last month. Moon met with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi in Cairo and they agreed to make joint efforts for the conclusion of negotiations, which had been going on for some 10 years.
“We expect the recent agreement will have a positive effect on Korea and Egypt’s continued cooperation in the defense field in the future,” DAPA said.
The 155-millimeter (6.1-inch) caliber self-propelled howitzer has been a major success for Korea’s defense industry since its development by Samsung Techwin in 1999. Over 600 units have been exported to Norway, Poland, Estonia, Finland, India, Turkey and Australia.
The 46.3-ton K-9 has a standard ammunition range of 18 kilometers (11.2 miles), which can be extended to 30 kilometers through rocket assisted projectiles and to 40.6 kilometers using advanced base-bleed ammunition.
“The K-9 self-propelled howitzer weapon system is superior in quality and has a high price–performance ratio,” said Kang Eun-ho, head of DAPA, who visited Egypt five times last year alone for the negotiations. “The latest agreement should push Korea-Egypt ties forward to another level, as they work together in a comprehensive cooperative partnership.”
Egypt’s Defense Ministry and DAPA also signed a memorandum of understanding on Tuesday to cooperate in defense science and technology research and development.
BY ESTHER CHUNG [email@example.com]