K2 MBT vs. Leopard 2A7: Norway seeks a new tank in the snow

OSLO, ($1=8.99 Norwegian Krones) — In Norway, a Korean tank Black Panther K2 and a German tank Leopard 2A7 are undergoing thorough tests, BulgarianMilitary.com has learned, citing local news agencies and the Norwegian Ministry of Defense.

From 2025, new tanks will appear in the Norwegian army. Korean tank Black Panther K2 and German tank Leopard 2A7 are fighting for a big contract and they will be tested in Norwegian winter conditions. Two suppliers are currently fighting for a contract for tanks, and the Norwegian Ministry of Defense plans to sign a contract by the end of 2022.

Competitors are K2 Black Panther from South Korean Hyundai Rotem and Leopard 2A7 from German Krauss-Maffei Wegmann [KMW]. On January 27, the two tanks were shown to the Minister of Defense and the press.

Over the next four weeks, the tanks will undergo a thorough winter test to see how they cope with Norwegian winter and nature. “We see that there are two suppliers who are very serious about this and this is important to us. This means that we will get the best possible tanks and at the best price,” said the Norwegian Defense Ministry.

The appearance of the Black Panther in the auction is a manifestation of the deepening cooperation between Seoul and Oslo in the military-technical sphere, which began with the recent acquisition of the K9 Thunder self-propelled howitzer in South Korea. We remind you that in 2020 Norway received a batch of K9 Thunder ACS. Along with self-propelled artillery units at that time, K10 transport and loading machines arrived in the country. On the other hand, the Norwegian army has long exploited Leopard 2.

K2 MBT / Black Panther

K2 MBT vs. Leopard 2A7: Norway seeks a new tank in the snow
Photo credit: Norway MoD

The Black Panther or K2 MBT is a South Korean tank manufactured by Hyundai-Rotem since 2014. In our ranking, the K2 MBT is ranked second among the five next-generation tanks. K2 MBT weighs 55 tons, has GPS / INS navigation, and has a crew of three. The tank is powered by a 12-cylinder water-cooled diesel engine providing 1,500 horsepower.

The main gun is a CN08 120 mm 55-caliber smoothbore gun designed by the Agency for Defense Development and Hyundai Wia. He is additionally armed with a 12.7 × 99mm K6 heavy machine gun and a 7.62 × 51mm NATO coaxial machine gun.

K2 MBT is a success of South Korean production in heavy armored artillery equipment. This tank is based on a brand new concept to achieve maximum combat effectiveness. The whole idea and philosophy of South Korean technological development are embedded in the integrated ergonomic zipper design. The tank has an extended cannon, strong maneuverability, and completely new suspension technology. Hyundai-Rotem has developed a new material from which the armor of the tank is made. Hyundai-Rotem claims that the K2 MBT fire control system is the most modern and possibly efficient in the world that can be produced.

Leopard 2A7

K2 MBT vs. Leopard 2A7: Norway seeks a new tank in the snow
Photo credit: Norway MoD

Leopard 2A7 is the German answer to the South Korean K2 MBT. Leopard 2A7 is manufactured by the local manufacturer of armored combat chain and wheeled weapons Krauss-Maffei Wegmann. It is known that, like its South Korean competitor, Leopard 2A7 began its existence in 2014, with the first 14 units delivered to the German army. Denmark is expected to receive 44 tanks of this type this year. According to conflicting information, in the period 2016-2019, Singapore received 45 Leopard 2A7 tanks [according to SIPRI], but in Singapore denied [according to the Singapore Defense Ministry].

The tank weighs 66 tons, the crew consists of four people. Leopard 2A7 is not suitable for urban combat conditions, unlike the latest version developed specifically for the German army Leopard 2A7 +. The Leopard 2A7 is powered by a Steyr Motors M12 TCA UI, which provides 1,500 horsepower. The tank is protected by the Swedish mobile camouflage system – Saab Barracuda [MCS], as well as by the heat transfer reduction system [HTR CoolCam].

The tank has several optimizations, such as optimized or new ultracapacitors in the chassis and dome, digital intercom system SOTAS IP, a new fire protection system, optimized thermal imaging modules, and other optics. The main weapon of the Leopard 2A7 is the Rheinmetall Rh-120mm smoothbore tank gun designed and manufactured by the West German Rheinmetall-DeTec AG company. Depending on customer preferences, the tank can be equipped with 2 × 7.62 mm German-made MG3A1 machine guns or 2 × 7.62 mm Belgian-made FN MAG machine guns.


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