On 17 February, Finland announed it will acquire Hanwha Land Systems' K9 THUNDER 155mm self-propelled howitzers. According to an MoD announcement, Finnish Defence Minister Jussi Niinistö has approved the purchase of 48 former South Korean Army K9s at a cost of €146 million, including training, spares, and maintenance. The contract also includes options for the procurement of additional K9s. Deliveries are to start this year.
On top of that, Kongsberg Defence Systems recently entered into a contract with Hanwha Land Systems to deliver Integrated Combat Solution (ICS) to Finland’s new artillery. ICS is a modern vehicle electronic digital system based on open standards for connectivity, integration of sensors, weapons, communication networks and security systems for the next generation military vehicles.
"We are very proud to be selected as systems integrator and partner for this modern network-based solution for vehicles. Integrated Combat Solution from Kongsberg fits very well into the digitization of land forces and further development the Army's combat systems,” Eirik Lie, President of Kongsberg Defence Systems, explained.
Estonia will join Finland in purchasing K9 THUNDERs, defence officials confirmed. Finland has been in talks with South Korea for a couple of years to procure heavy artillery assets to replace its Soviet-era arsenal. The country's army tested the K9 in late 2016, when Niinistö offered Estonia the opportunity to participate in the purchase. Estonia plans to procure 12 of the weapons.