Korea prepares to buy 54 Hyundai Rotem K2 Black Panther tanks
SEOUL ($1=) — South Korea is ready to invest money in the purchase of at least 54 more tanks of its Hyundai Rotem K2 Black Panther. This is clear from the budget for the fiscal year 2023, adopted at the end of August. According to reports, the new South Korean purchase will be the third batch in recent years delivered to the South Korean military.
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Hyundai Rotem manufactures the infamous K2 Black Panther main battle tanks. They are considered to be one of the best, most reliable, combat capable, and efficient in their class in the world. South Korea’s new budget  equates to approximately US$41 billion.
South Korea has already made a decision. The tanks will be purchased under a contract signed nearly two years ago between the manufacturer and the Korean Ministry of Defense. Currently, South Korea has 206 tanks in service. 54 tanks will be produced in the third batch, and so Seoul will arm its ground forces with a total of 260 tanks of this model.
Interest in K2
In recent months, the K2 tank has enjoyed great interest from foreign partners. Currently, there are dozens of inquiries about exporting the tank.
Poland took a big step by deciding to order 1,000 K2 tanks. This is an order that will ensure the transfer of technology to Poland, and a large part of the tanks will be manufactured in Poland. The Polish version will be called K2PL. The first delivery lot of 180 of the 1,000 ordered has already been signed and is expected to be delivered by 2025.
Last but not least one of the largest tank factories in Africa, the one in Egypt is also ready to start production of these tanks. Egypt wants to replace its aging T-62 and T-80 tanks, as well as one of its main battle tanks currently, the T-90. A huge factory for the production of Abrams tanks has been built on the outskirts of Cairo. Cairo can easily rearrange assembly lines. South Korea and Cairo are ready to cooperate, and talks began in December 2021. BulgarianMilitary.com recalls that it was Egypt that decided to purchase 200 K2 Thunder self-propelled howitzers, which are derivatives of the K2 tank [use the same platform].
K2 Black Panther
K2 Black Panther is a product of the Korean company Hyundai Rotem and is in the category of “next-generation tank”. It was designed at the end of 2008 and has been in production since then, with about 500 units produced so far. This is the main battle tank of the South Korean army.
The tank has been officially in service since 2017. There are currently no officially registered military operations around the world. He is in service only in South Korea but is participating in a competition for a new battle tank of the Norwegian Armed Forces. Egypt is also interested in it – the country that made the largest purchase of self-propelled howitzers in the world – the Korean K9 Thunder.
K2 Black Panther weighs 55 tons and is operated by a three-member crew. The tank is 10.8 meters long, but the distance between the axles of the chassis is 7.5 meters, 3.6 meters wide, and 2.4 meters high. The armor of the tank is a combination of POSCO MIL-12560H armor steel and other classified plates along with ERA and NERA modular add-on armor in addition to soft-kill and hard-kill anti-missile defense systems.
K2 armament and engine
The main armament consists of a Hyundai WIA CN08 120 mm 55 caliber smoothbore gun, while the secondary armament consists of a 12.7 × 99mm [.50 BMG] K6 heavy machine gun [3,200 rounds initially loaded] and 7.62 × 51mm NATO coaxial machine gun [12,000 rounds initially loaded].
Currently, the tank is powered by a Korean engine Hyundai Doosan Infracore DV27K 4-long stroke, 12-cylinder water-cooled diesel, dry weight: 2550 kg, but during the production of the first units of the tank, the engine was German – MTU. The Korean engine provides 1,500 horsepower, which is close to 27 horsepower per ton. With one charge of the tank, the tank travels a distance of 450 km. The maximum speed that the tank can reach is 70 km / h if it is moving on the road, otherwise between 30-50 km / h if the terrain is difficult to access, off-road, or heavily rugged.
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