Egypt has signed a deal worth $1.7 billion to buy K9 howitzers from South Korea, the Defence Acquisition Programme Administration (DAPA) in Seoul announced on Tuesday.
According to Defence News, the deal is South Korea's largest contract to export its K9 self-propelled howitzers and support vehicles. The news website cited a source as saying that about 200 K9 artillery systems will be supplied to the Egyptian military, along with scores of support vehicles, such as the K10 ammunition resupply vehicles.
Under the deal, most of the equipment is scheduled to be produced locally at Factory 200, a state-run defence manufacturing facility just outside Cairo. An initial shipment, however, will be delivered by Hanwha Defence.
The long-awaited deal goes back to at least 2009, when Egypt expressed interest in updating its artillery systems. It was postponed due to the failed attempt to turn the country into a democratic state.
"The latest deal is the first export of the K9 Self-Propelled Howitzer to Africa following the artillery's successful exports to European and Asia-Pacific nations," explained DAPA. "This is the largest K9 deal in scale, making Egypt the eighth country to operate the K9."
The K9 accounts for nearly 50 per cent of the global self-propelled howitzer market. It is already in service with South Korea, Turkey, Poland, India, Finland, Norway and Estonia.
Egypt's land forces currently use versions A2, A3 and A5 of the American-made M109 howitzer, added Defence News.
READ: Egypt president meets CEO of French military giant, 1 week after Egypt Papers leaked