Artillery vehicle

CR22 ~ Norwegian K9 Vidar Artillery Support

On the COLD RESPONSE 2022 (CR22) the new Norwegian K9 Vidar self-propelled howitzers provided artillery support to the North Force, reports Carl Schulze.


Setermoen, 30 March 2022: Today, the Force du Nord continued its counterattack, with the main fighting taking place at the Setermoen training area with the counterattack supported by artillery fire from the batteries of the Artilleribataljonen from Norwegian Northern Brigade. This battalion deploys the brand new 155mm L/52 K9 Vidar self-propelled howitzer.

All four 155mm K9s Vidar self-propelled howitzers Kanonbatteriene nils (Nils artillery battery) are lined up in a large truck parking lot on the outskirts of Setermoen. Next to them, a K10 ammunition supply vehicle is parked. Next to a garage is the battery command post vehicle. Suddenly, the guns of all four K9s are raised simultaneously, while the turrets are rotated slightly to the right. The movement indicates that the battery is about to perform a fire mission. In the event of a live fire, several extremely loud collisions would now follow, but since this is an exercise, the battery remains silent.

Four 155mm K9 Vidar self-propelled howitzers of the Kanonbatteriene Nils can be seen here in firing position on the outskirts of Setermoen [© Carl Schulze]

The base of Setermoen Artilleribataljonen from Northern Brigade is the only artillery unit in the Norwegian army. It consists of the Bataljonsstaben (battalion staff), the Stabsbatteriet (headquarters battery), three Kanonbatteriene (gun batteries) ~ designated Nils (N), Olga (O) and Piraya (P) ~ the Battery locators (artillery reconnaissance battery) and the Kampluftvernbatteriet (air defense battery).

Powered by an MTU 881 Ka 500 diesel engine that develops 1000 hp, the K9 Vidar can reach a top speed of 67 km/h [© Carl Schulze]

The gun batteries are all equipped with 155mm L/52 K9 Vidar self-propelled howitzer. Only recently has this modern weapon system replaced the outdated M109A3GN. Norway purchased a total of 24 K9 howitzers, along with six K10 supply vehicles. The vehicles were designed and built by South Korean company Hanwha Land Systems. Delivery of the first K9s took place in 2019, with the remainder being delivered in 2020 and 2021. On January 1, 2022, the Norwegian Army declared the 155mm L/52 K9 Vidar self-propelled howitzers are fully operational.

Weighing approximately 48 tons, the K9 Vidar is 12m long, 3.4m wide and 3.5m high ~ its main weapon is a 155mm CN98 L/52 cannon [© Carl Schulze]

Weighing around 48 tonnes, the K9 is 12.0m long, 3.4m wide and 3.5m high and has a crew of four. Powered by an MTU 881 Ka 500 diesel engine which develops 1000 hp, the gun can reach a top speed of 67 km/h. The engine is connected to an Allison X1100-5A3 transmission. On board the vehicle carries 44 rounds of 155 mm ammunition. With its 155 mm L/52 gun, it can carry out several simultaneous entry missions and fire bursts of three rounds in ten seconds. He can also fire for a period of three minutes at a rate of six to eight rounds per minute. However, the gun’s sustained rate of fire is two to three rounds per minute for an hour. While the effective range depends on the type of ammunition used, 40 km and more can be achieved, and the gun can fire all standard 155mm NATO ammunition. The K9 can perform “shooting and scooter” missions, from movement to shooting preparation, the gun only needs 60 seconds, and after the shooting mission is completed, it can be on the move again in the 30 seconds.

The K10 Ammunition Supply Vehicle uses the same chassis as the K9 and can carry 104 155mm rounds and corresponding loads ~ Ammo transfer from K10 to K9 is fully automated
[© Carl Schulze]

Norwegian K9 Vidar differs in some details from the Korean K9 Thunder. For example, it is equipped with a combined NBC protection and air conditioning system which is located at the rear of the right side turret.

[Text and images © Carl Schulze]