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K55 (155mm Self Propelled Howitzer)

Samsung Aerospace Industries (SSA) was the prime contractor for local production of 155mm M109A2 self-propelled howitzer of which 1,040 were built under the co-production license with United Defense LP. Licence production of the M109A2, also designated the KM109A2, was completed in 1997.

Artillery support is critical in modern warfare and strategically located firing units are a vital complement to advancing infantry. The initial artillery barrage on the defined target zone is essential to a mission's success. The K-55, a derivative of the American M109, provides full tracked, armored protection for the crew and ammunition. It features excellent all-terrain mobility and speed, with an aluminum armored hull and 360-degree turret.

Enemy weapons on the modern battlefield possess an ever increasing threat, to the survivability of today's armored vehicles. In the face of certain attack by enemy counter fire, artillery must survive and deliver continuous fire support. The K55 SPH is a modern weapon system with the armored protection and mobility to survive on the modern battlefield and protect the crew and ammunition from counter fire and severe weather.

Since the battle scene constantly changes, the unit itself must be able to disengage and relocate upon command and resume its attack. These requirements demand a reliable system, one capable of delivering maximum fire power in a configuration that is both mobile and efficient. The fire power available from the K55, guarded by its armor aluminum shield, more than meets that battlefield challenge. It provides high hit accuracy and high rate of fire, ammunition versatility, and advanced mobility and survivability.

Artillery units should possess excellent mobility in order to overcome all possible topographies eg. rough terrain, rivers, and to rapidly disengage and relocate upon command. K55 is powered by the Detroit Diesel 8V-71T and eight cylinder, turbo-charged engine. It can reach speeds of up to 56 km/hr and is highly maneuverable in a wide variety of terrain allowing frequent firing battery displacement with "shoot and move" tactics.

The Field Artillery Ammunition Support Vehicle [FAASV] provides enhanced firing ability and survivability of its crew and ammunition against direct and indirect fire. Survivability is further enhanced through its complete automatic fire suppression system. A 100-rounds payload capacity, an armored protected fusing and round preparation area, a powered conveyor system, and an auxiliary power unit establish the FAASV as the perfect complement to modern artillery. The K55 related drive train affords exceptional mobility for battlefield responsiveness and also functions to tow artillery. Ammunition support includes automated transfer arm and conveyer moving ammunition, providing a maximum rate of 6 rounds, with close support to the 155mm K55 Self-Propelled Howitzer

Artillery fire direction and overall battlefield management centers need the mobility and armored protection of the forces they control. For firing battery and troop maneuvering to be effective, timely control and coordination are vital. The Fire Direction Center Vehicle [FDCV] provides such control and coordination through its unique combination of mobility, armored protection, and its on-board Battalion Tactical Computer System (BTCS).

The DAPA Fire Power Ammunition Programs Department held a "meeting for commencing the program for developing the ammunition carrying armored vehicle system for K-55" on 14 November 2008 at Samsung Tech One, Ltd. (located in Changwon, Gyeongnam), attended by over 60 persons of related agencies such as the Ministry of National Defense, Joint Chiefs of Staff, Army and ADD and the developing company Samsung Tech One and subcontractors. At the meeting, all aspects of "the program for developing the ammunition carrying armored vehicle system for K-55" were introduced, and the implementation plans were presented by the relevant companies. The meeting was the first to be held to form a consensus for all the aspects of the program through close cooperation and discussion between related agencies and companies and to work on the system development for about three years in future. "The program for developing the ammunition carrying armored vehicle system for K-55" is to develop an ammunition carrying armored vehicle that can supply ammunition automatically to the self-propelled gun of K-55 with improved performance of shooting range and firing speed, and it is expected to ensure the maximization of fighting power of the self-propelled artillery unit having K-55 performance improved.

International Comparisons
ROK
K-55
ROK
K-9
USA
M109A6
Germany
PZH 2000
Maximum range 24 km 40 km 30 km 40 km
Rate of fire (maximum) 4 shots / minute 6 shots / minute 4 shots / minute 8 shots / minute
Ammunition load 36 shots 48 shots 39 shots 60 shots
Fire control method Manual operation Automatic movement / manual operation Manual operation Automatic movement / manual operation
Crew 6 people 5 people 6 people 5 people
Gun barrel caliber 30cal 52cal 39cal 52cal
Battle weight (ton) 25 47 32 55
Maximum speed (km/h) 56 66 56 60
Operational 1985 1999 1992 1988



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