North Korea showed how their new M2020 tank fires a 125mm gun
North Korea’s state media recently unveiled thrilling footage of the nation’s next-generation tank, a force to be reckoned with, demonstrating its capabilities in a combat exercise.
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The event marked the 70th anniversary of the Korean War’s end, a day of victorious celebration in North Korea, commemorating their resistance against a U.S.-led invasion. The military parade in October 2020 first introduced this advanced tank, commemorating 75 years of the ruling Korean Workers’ Party’s reign.
Despite its appearance in subsequent parades in Pyongyang, this is the first glimpse of the tank demonstrating its might. Its impressive shooting range and the deployment of an unidentified munition type from its primary 125mm gun, similar to the preceding generation of tanks, were highlights of the spectacle. The new tank’s moniker remains a mystery, with Western analysts tentatively naming it ‘M2020’.
Although detailed information about the new vehicle is sparse, it is expected to excel in mountainous terrains, like its predecessors, and feature advanced armor-piercing rounds, fire control enhancements, and state-of-the-art protection systems, including cutting-edge thermal sights and communication systems.
North Korea’s tank production history spans over four decades, initially producing the Soviet T-62 tank under a license before venturing into local derivations of the design. The Pokpung Ho model, introduced in the 2000s, marked a significant leap in indigenous armor technology, boasting a 125mm main gun, advanced fire controls, and a composite armor integration, including turret reactive armor and laser warning receivers.
This innovation followed North Korean leadership visits to the Russian Uralvagonzavod tank factory, sparking rumors of Russian influence on the vehicle, particularly from the T-90A tank class. By this time, North Korea’s tank industry had matured significantly, offering upgrade packages for older Soviet vehicles abroad. A prominent example is the integration of laser rangefinders onto Syrian T-55 tanks, which were extensively used in the counterinsurgency efforts in Syria in the 2010s.
Despite the Pokpung Ho being better suited for mountain operations than its South Korean and American counterparts, it falls short in terms of overall capability, particularly in the fire controls department. North Korea joins China as the only two nations to have independently developed two generations of novel post-Cold War tank designs.
With over 500 Pokpung Hos reportedly acquired by South Korea, it is plausible that the new vehicle will witness a substantial production run. However, the scale of production and whether these vehicles are in active service or merely undergoing testing remains a matter of speculation.
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