The explosion of a self-propelled howitzer ‘K-9 Thunder’ that killed South Korean soldiers last week is appeared to have caused by the combustion of gunpowder that is used to propel artillery shells toward the target, local media reports.
“For reasons unknown, there was smoke inside the howitzer’s breach block assembly,” the South Korean Army official was quoted as saying by The Korean Herald on Monday. “According to our on-site investigation, three sets of gunpowder were completely burned down without any trace,” source said.
Two South Korean soldiers were killed and five injured in an explosion inside a K-9 Thunder during artillery training Friday in Choerwon, Gangwon Province.
The Army decided to halt K-9 artillery firings for training purposes until the official investigation on the exact cause of the explosion is concluded. The training was designed to improve accuracy of counter-artillery attacks toward North Korea.
Touted as “high-quality indigenous artillery” for its longer range and higher rate of firing, he indigenous howitzer is manufactured by Samsung Techwin and has been exported to four foreign countries including Turkey and India.
However, since malfunctioning of two howitzers in 2010 during Pyongyang’s 2010 bombardment of Yeonpyong Island, the howitzer has been under scrutiny. According to a parliamentary inquiry in 2016, there has been more than 1,700 reports of malfunctions with the K-9 artillery over the past five years.
South Korean Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA) has approved a plan to upgrade home-grown K-9 self-propelled howitzer starting next year. The approval by the Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA) allows the mass production of an upgraded K-9 Thunder 155mm self-propelled howitzer from next year,
South Korea has completed the development of an upgraded 105 mm howitzer featuring increased agility and automated firing control and will start mass producing in 2018. The self-propelled artillery system combines the existing 105 mm towed howitzer with a five-ton truck as its bed
Hanwha Techwin Co., a South Korean firm has won a 280 billion won (US$260 million) deal to build 96 K-9 self-propelled howitzers for a state-run company in Poland
The South Korean Army plans to resume use of its K-9 howitzer for training "in stages" following a report that a mechanical flaw trigged an explosion of the artillery system in August which left three soldiers dead and four others wounded. A press release from the South Korean Army published in the local media mentioned mechanical flaw as the likely cause of the abrupt explosion without giving any details
Norwegian Defence Materiel Agency and South Korean company Hanwha Land Systems signed a contract estimated 1.8 Billion NOK (US$ 215 million) for the procurement of Artillery System 155 mm on Wednesday
All India Defence Employees Federation (AIDEF) has written to the Defence Minister requesting to review its decision to buy South Korean howitzer guns instead of locally made Dhanush 155 mm Artillery Gun. The request of AIDEF follows death of South Korean soldiers in an K-9 howitzer explosion during South Korean army's artillery training session,
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