Lockheed Martin partnering with Korean and UK firms for new British Artillery may provide a boost for the domestic industry, finds GlobalData

Following the news that Lockheed Martin UK has joined Hanwha Defense, Leonardo UK and others to produce self-propelled howitzers;

“The South Korean-led consortium known as ‘Team Thunder’ are bidding to manufacture and supply self-propelled artillery platforms for the British Army’s Mobile Fires Platform Programme, aimed at replacing the ageing AS90 155mm gun which has been in use since 1992.

“The consortium is in good stead, as previous versions of the K9 howitzer being offered to the UK have already sold over 1,700 units to countries including Poland, Estonia and Norway – this may make it an attractive choice for its interoperability potential with these NATO allies.

“The entry of Lockheed’s British arm into the bid may also be a much-needed boost for the domestic industry, as the decision to cancel an upgrade for the Warrior IFV and the uncertain future of the Ajax program has created doubts about the future of British armoured vehicle manufacturing.

“Team Thunder’s offer also has an eye on a broader export market, as the offer for the K9 includes plans to produce the platform in the UK in partnership with local suppliers to bring ‘maximum benefit to the UK industry’. These plans include training programs for the manufacturing workforce and apprenticeship opportunities, all of which provide the potential for the UK’s K9 production to become a regional hub in a global supply chain.

“Self-propelled artillery systems are likely to see a period of higher demand in the coming years, particularly as rising European tensions lead NATO militaries to re-arm for peer-to-peer conventional warfare. After 20 years of fighting insurgencies, the west is looking to reinforce its army formations with newer platforms capable of sustained fire support in large-scale conventional engagements. GlobalData estimates that the global artillery systems market will be worth $6.7 billion by 2031, with self-propelled platforms taking a 45% share overall.”

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