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Finland’s Ministry of Defence (MoD) has announced approval to exercise the existing contract option for procuring additional K9 Thunder self-propelled 155-mm howitzers.

The new contract option is valued at approximately $137.37m (€134m) and involves the purchase of as many as 38 howitzers. It marks the full redemption of the contract option.

The proposal to exercise this option was approved by Finnish Defence Minister Antti Kaikkonen and supported by the Finnish Government’s finance committee during its meeting on 17 November.

Kaikkonen said: “I am pleased that the opportunity agreed in the procurement agreement to purchase these howitzers will now be redeemed in full.”

As part of an interstate transaction, the Finnish MoD first acquired K9 howitzers in 2017 from the South Korean Government operated trade-investment promotion agency KOTRA.

The initial deal involved the procurement of 48 K9 Thunders for the Army, along with an additional option for 48 more howitzers.

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By GlobalData

The country later exercised the partial contract option by purchasing ten more howitzers while the remaining 38 are being procured now.

This brings the overall number of K9 self-propelled armoured howitzers to 96. 

The K9 Thunder howitzers are being procured to further boost the Finnish Army’s firepower and existing strike capabilities.

Finnish Army Command artillery inspector colonel Pertti Holma said: “[A] key advantage to this system is that it combines elements of mobility, force protection, and firepower.

“As such, the self-propelled howitzer has turned out to be reliable and provided excellently validated use case experiences, both relating to training persons liable for military service and conducting fires.”

In August this year, Poland confirmed the purchase of 212 Thunder self-propelled howitzers and K2 Black Panther main battle tanks for its Army.