South Korea’s Hanwha Aerospace will showcase its K239 Chunmoo multiple launch rocket system (MLRS) at a major European defence trade event near Paris, as the continent’s demand for artillery capabilities is forecast to drive global requirements over the next decade.

The presence of a full-size Chunmoo MLRS at the Eurosatory exhibition and conference from 17-22 June 2024, will be a first for the platform in Europe, indicative of the importance of the European market as well as Hanwha’s bid to gain a greater share of the sector.

Analysis by GlobalData forecasts that the global artillery system market, valued at $10.6bn in 2024, is projected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 4.5% over the next decade, reaching $16.5bn by 2034 and cumulatively valued $148.7bn over the forecast period.

The market consists of five categories: self-propelled artillery system, MRLS, towed artillery system, naval gun, and close-in weapon system. Of this, the market is expected to be led by self-propelled artillery system segment, which accounts for 56.1% of the market, followed by MLRS segment with 22.1% share.

Among geographic segments, Europe is projected to dominate the sector with a share of 46.2%, followed by Asia-Pacific and North America with shares of 38.2% and 7.0% respectively.

Hanwha’s stand at Eurosatory is clearly prioritising the K239 Chunmoo MLRS, over the K9 155mm artillery system. Credit: Hanwha Aerospace

In a 14 June release, Hanwha Aerospace said the presence of the K239 Chunmoo MLRS at Eurosatory comes with “several countries in the region” showing interest in the acquisition of long-range precision-guided fires, amid what were termed as “growing security challenges”.

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This is likely a non-to-subtle reference to the ongoing war between Ukraine and Russia, in which the role of artillery and indirect fires has proved a determining factor in the success or failure of operations.

Platform focus: K239 Chunmoo MLRS

Hanwha Aerospace has already had some success in exporting its K239 into Europe in recent years, with Poland receiving the first an eventual 288 HOMAR-K – a Polish version of the K239 – systems in August 2023, part of a $3.55bn deal agreed in 2022 with South Korea.

According to Hanwha the Chunmoo MRLS can fire a number of different kinds of munition, including 239mm and 280mm rockets with a range of 80km and 160km, as well what it terms a 290mm ‘ballistic missile’, with a maximum range of 290km.

The Chunmoo can fire two different calibre rockets simultaneously, the company states.

At Eurosatory, Hanwha Aerospace will also showcase its K9 self-propelled howitzer, currently in service with nine nations, including five Nato countries: Poland, Finland, Norway, Estonia, and Türkiye.

The K9 was thought to be a leading contender for the UK Mobile Fires Platform programme, but abruptly lost out following the agreement between London and Berlin to jointly develop the RCH155 SPH, based on the Boxer 8×8 vehicle.