Wait, is there a Samsung tank? Let me tell the story from the beginning. First, meet the tank that is is the subject of our article.

The K9 Thunder is a self-propelled 155 mm howitzer that has garnered international acclaim for its advanced technology and effectiveness on the battlefield. The K9 Thunder has been adopted by multiple countries, including Turkey, Finland, Norway, Estonia, India, Poland, and Australia. It has been praised for its advanced technology, mobility, and firepower. The latest variant, the K9A2, is under consideration for the UK’s Mobile Fires Platform program. The howitzer’s global success highlights South Korea’s significant impact on modern artillery technology, which all started with Samsung.

Samsung tank: Did Samsung create the K9 Thunder?
Initially designed by Samsung Techwin, the Samsung tank, known as the K9 Thunder, quickly gained international recognition (Credit)

Developing the K9 Thunder, aka Samsung tank

Yes, Samsung played a crucial role in creating the K9 Thunder. The development of the K9 Thunder began in 1989 under the initiative of Samsung Techwin, a subsidiary of the Samsung Group. Known for its capabilities in precision engineering and defense technology, Samsung Techwin embarked on creating an advanced self-propelled 155 mm howitzer that could meet the demands of modern warfare. By 1996, the first prototype of the K9 Thunder was ready and underwent rigorous testing. This phase was critical to ensure that the howitzer met the required standards for performance, mobility, and durability.

Contract and production

On December 22, 1998, the South Korean government awarded the contract to develop and produce the K9 Thunder to Samsung Aerospace Industries (SSA), which was also part of the Samsung Group. This marked a significant milestone in the K9 Thunder’s journey from concept to reality. By 1999, the Republic of Korea Army received the first production batch of K9 howitzers from SSA. This delivery marked the beginning of the K9 Thunder’s deployment and integration into the South Korean military, showcasing its advanced capabilities and setting the stage for future international interest.

Samsung tank: Did Samsung create the K9 Thunder?
In 1998, the South Korean government awarded a contract to Samsung Aerospace Industries to produce the Samsung tank (Credit)

Transition to Hanwha

In 2015, the Hanwha Group acquired Samsung Techwin, leading to the rebranding of the defense division as Hanwha Land Systems. Despite this transition, the development and production of the K9 Thunder continued seamlessly under Hanwha’s management. Hanwha leveraged the strong foundation laid by Samsung to enhance the K9 Thunder’s capabilities further and expand its reach in the global defense market. This seamless transition ensured that the K9 Thunder remained at the forefront of modern artillery technology, benefiting from Hanwha’s additional resources and expertise.


Samsung Techwin, later integrated into Hanwha Land Systems, was the original developer and producer of the K9 Thunder. The initial design, development, and production were all carried out by Samsung entities until the transition to Hanwha. This shift allowed the project to continue its momentum, with Hanwha ensuring that the K9 Thunder remained a critical asset in modern artillery, widely adopted by various countries around the world.

Featured image credit generated by Eray Eliaçık