Seoul gives Kyiv two non-lethal K600 tanks to breach Surovikin line
South Korea will provide Ukraine with two non-lethal K600 KCEV tanks, BulgarianMilitary.com has learned, citing sources. These Korean non-lethal tanks are armored anti-mine machines.
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The Ukrainian armed forces have been struggling since the start of the summer counter-offensive because of the huge minefields laid by the Russian army. One of the most inaccessible are these minefields located in the southern direction. They are better known as the “Surovikin line”.
The K600 KCEV is one of the latest South Korean developments in battlefield demining. It is intended to work during combat operations. The model is new and the South Korean army began receiving its first units only in 2020.
The basis – K1 tank
Hyundai Rotem spearheaded the development of the K600; a feat engineered within two prototypes and unveiled publicly for the first time in the year 2018. Also identified as the Korean Combat Engineer Vehicle [KCEV], the production contract was subsequently awarded a year later in 2019. By the year 2020, deliveries commenced to fortify the South Korean military forces.
The K600 manifests its prototype on an enhanced and remodeled chassis of the K1 main battle tank, with the M1 tower replaced by a superstructure. The production vehicles, apparently freshly constructed, adopt their framework from the K2 main battle tank. The considerable heft of this new armored device is a striking 62 tons.
The essential purpose of the K600 involves disrupting roadblocks within minefields and breaching through enemy hindrances. The design concept runs parallel to the American-built Grizzly Breacher vehicle of the 1990s, despite the latter’s non-progression to production.
This sophisticated machinery is furnished with an expansive mining plow, contributed by Pearson Engineering hailing from the UK. The K600 can overrun minefields to a substantial depth of 0.3 m and can neutralize mines boasting advanced fuses through magnetic field emission.
On the battlefield, the K600 paves out safe corridors within minefields for troops’ swift passage and vehicle movement. This tactic facilitates the forward progression of assault units before the enemy forces’ defense structure is established. Integrated within the K600 is a road marking system that lays out bars as the machine progresses, displaying a demined route to following troops and vehicles.
The bucket excavator arm is a versatile tool for various operations including digging anti-tank ditches and pits, clearing hurdles, and lifting different objects.
Protection and armament
The K600’s protection parallels that of conventional main battle tanks, possessing heavy armor capable of resisting damage from mines. Equipped with NBC protection and automated fire extinguishing mechanisms, this engineering apparatus offers remote control operation from a radius of up to 5 km for enhanced crew safety.
A roof-mounted 12.7 mm heavy machine gun serves as the defense mechanism, managed by a two-person crew consisting of a commander and a driver. The muscular strength of the K600 is sustained by a 1,200-hp diesel engine, according to reports.
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