Hyundai Rotem to produce third batch of K2 main battle tanks for South Korean army

According to information published by Hyundai Rotem on December 22, 2020, the company won a contract to produce the third batch of K2 Black Panther Main Battle Tanks (MBTs) for the South Korean Army.
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South Korean Army K2 Black Panther main battle tank. (Picture source Army Recognition)

South Korean company Hyundai Rotem has started the first serial production of the K2 Black Panther Main Battle Tank (MBT) in 2010 and has completed the delivery of 100 tanks in 2015. A second batch of 106 tanks was ordered in 2014 and is expected to be completed in 2021.

According to the military balance 2020, South Korean armed forces have a total of 2,221 main battle tanks including 1,000 K1/K1E1, 484 K1A1/K1A2, 100 K2, 597 M48A5 and 40 T-80U.

The K2 Black Panther MBT was unveiled for the first time to the public during the Defense Exhibition ADEX at the Seoul Airport in October 2009. The tank was produced for the South Korean army to replace the old American-made M48 Patton MBT.

The main armament of the K2 Black Panther consists of a German-made Rheinmetall 120-mm/ L55 smoothbore gun produced under license in South Korea. The gun is fitted with an automatic loader which ensures the loading of projectiles on the move even when the vehicle moves on uneven surfaces.

The layout of the K2 MBT is conventional, with the driver's compartment at the front, fighting compartment in the center and engine and transmission at the rear. The armor on the Black Panther consists of an unknown type of composite armor and an Active Defense System utilizing Explosive Reactive Armor blocks. The K2 has a crew of three with a driver at the front center of the hull and commander and gunner in the turret.

The K2 Black Panther was previously motorized with an MT 833 diesel engine from Tognum, but the latest version of the tank is now fitted with a license-built German MTU 883 diesel engine and Renk transmission system. The K2 can run at a maximum speed 70 km/h on surface roads while being able to maintain speeds up to 48 km/h on off-road conditions. It has a maximum cruising range of 450 km.