Poland signs joint venture with South Korea to produce locally K2 tanks

Polish Armaments Group (PGZ) member, Military Industrial Automotive (WZM), and South Korea's Hyundai Rotem Company announced on Friday, March 31, 2023, the formation of a joint venture to provide Poland's military with K2 main battle tanks (MBTs) and related equipment.
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Polish army demonstrates K2 tank combat capabilities at the Land Forces Field Training Center in Bemowo Piskie. (Picture source Poland MoD)

The signing of the agreement took place at the Land Forces Field Training Center in Bemowo Piskie, northwestern Poland, where President Andrzej Duda and Deputy Prime Minister and Defense Minister Mariusz Blaszczak witnessed the performance of Korean K2 tanks and K9 howitzers acquired by the Polish army.

The establishment of the consortium is a crucial step in the development of the K-2PL tanks specifically tailored for the Polish military, according to PGZ.

PGZ CEO Sebastian Chwałek emphasized the significance of the partnership between the Polish Armament Group and South Korean company Hyundai Rotem in advancing the tank project. He also revealed that discussions are underway with additional companies to potentially join the consortium, further expanding its capabilities and expertise.

In August 2022, the Polish Ministry of National Defense signed a contract with Hyundai Rotem, a South Korean defense company, to purchase K2 Black Panther main battle tanks. Under the terms of the agreement, Hyundai Rotem will supply 250 K2 MBTs to Poland over the next several years.

The acquisition of the K2 is part of Poland's ongoing effort to modernize and strengthen its military capabilities in the face of evolving threats from Russia. The purchase of these tanks will greatly enhance Poland's armored capabilities and ensure that its armed forces remain at the forefront of military technology.

The deal with Hyundai Rotem also includes the transfer of technology and the establishment of a production line for the K2 in Poland, which will create new jobs and contribute to the development of the country's defense industry.

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The K2 is a South Korean MBT Main Battle Tank developed and designed by the company Hyundai Rotem. (Picture source Poland MoD)

The K2 Black Panther Main Battle Tank (MBT) is a state-of-the-art armored fighting vehicle developed by South Korea's Hyundai Rotem. The tank is designed to provide superior firepower, mobility, and protection. The development of the K2 Black Panther began in 1995 as part of South Korea's efforts to modernize its armed forces and replace its aging fleet of K1 tanks. The K2 underwent extensive testing and evaluation before officially entering service with the Republic of Korea Army in June 2014. Since then, the K2 has become a vital component of South Korea's armored forces and a symbol of its military modernization efforts.

The K2 tank has a crew of four including the driver, commander, gunner and loader. The hull houses the driver's compartment in the front left section, the powerpack (engine and transmission) in the rear, and fuel tanks on either side of the hull, providing protection and optimal weight distribution. The turret is positioned atop the hull, with the commander's station in the right rear section, the gunner's station in the front right section, and the loader's station in the left rear section. The main gun extends forward from the turret. The engine of the K2 Black Panther Main Battle Tank is positioned in the rear part of the hull. This location provides better protection for the engine, contributes to the optimal weight distribution, and allows for easier maintenance and repair in case of damage. The engine compartment is separated from the crew compartment to enhance crew safety.

The K2 Black Panther, South Korea's advanced Main Battle Tank, demonstrates an impressive array of features that make it a formidable force on the battlefield. Key attributes include a powerful 120mm smoothbore gun, capable of firing diverse ammunition types, and secondary armaments such as a 12.7mm heavy machine gun and a 7.62mm coaxial machine gun.

Additionally, the K2 boasts remarkable mobility, powered by a 1,500-horsepower diesel engine, which enables it to reach speeds up to 70 km/h on roads and 50 km/h off-road. Its advanced suspension system ensures excellent cross-country performance and a smooth ride in challenging terrain.

The tank's state-of-the-art protection systems encompass composite armor, an active protection system to intercept incoming projectiles, and a soft-kill system to disrupt enemy missile guidance systems. Furthermore, the K2 is equipped with sophisticated electronics and communication systems, such as a battle management system and cutting-edge sensors, enabling seamless information sharing and situational awareness on the battlefield.