Technical review K2NO - Leopard 2A7NO tanks compete in the snow as future MBT for Norway


According to pictures released on the Twitter account of "Ronkainen" after their arrival in Norway, the K2NO from South Korea and Leopard 2A7NO main battle tanks are ready to compete in the snow to be the new main battle tank of the Norwegian army.
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German Leopard 2A7NO and South Korean K2NO compete in the snow of Norway to be selected as future new MBT for the Norwegian army.


For the past 4 weeks, the South Korean K2NO and the German Leopard 2A7NO main battle tanks perform mobility and firepower trial tests in the winter conditions of Norway.

In 2017, Norway has launched a project to acquire a new Main Battle Tank (MBT) to replace second-hand Leopard 2A4 that were bought from the Netherlands in the early 2000s. Two companies have been selected as the two latest contenders for the new Norwegian army MBT including Hyundai Rotem from South Korea with the K2 Black Panther and Krauss-Maffei Wegman (KMW) from Germany with the Leopard 2A7.

Army Recognition editorial team presents a short review of the technical features for both candidates.

The Leopard 2A7 is a new improved version in the Leopard 2 MBT family produced by the German company Krauss-Maffei Wegman (KMW). The Leopard 2 is one of the most popular main battle tanks and is used in different variants by 18 countries from all over the world including Austria, Canada, Chile, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Indonesia, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and Turkey.

The Leopard 2 is combat-proven and was used in Kosovo with the German Army, and has been deployed for combat operations in Afghanistan with the Dutch, Danish and Canadian contributions to the International Security Assistance Force, as well as seeing action in Syria with the Turkish Armed Forces.


South Korean K2NO and Geman Leopard 2A7 compete in the snow as future Norway MBT 925 003
German Leopard 2A7NO main battle tank conducts trial tests in the snow of Norway. (Picture source Twitter account Ronkainen)


The Leopard 2A7 has a crew of four including the driver, commander, gunner, and loader. The tank is fitted with improved modular armor protection using new nano-ceramics materials and modern titanium and steel alloys. Thanks to its modular armor, in case of damaged modules, part of the armor can be replaced in field conditions. The floor of the tank is also increased to withstand blasts for landmines and improvised explosive devices. The hull and the turret offer 360° protection to the crew from anti-tank missiles, mines, improvised explosive devices (IEDs), and rocket-propelled grenade (RPG) fire.

The Leopard 2A7 has a length of around 10.97m, a width of 3.8 m, a height of 3.64 m, and a combat weight of around 64,500 kg. The main armament of the Leopard 2A7 includes one L55A1 smoothbore gun able to fire Kinetic Energy tank rounds and the latest programmable High Explosive multipurpose ammunition. The tank carries a total of 42 rounds.

The Leopard 2A7 is motorized with an MTU MB 873 Ka-501 liquid-cooled V12 twin-turbo diesel engine developing 1,479 hp. at 2,600 rpm coupled to a Renk HSWL 354 transmission with four forward and two reverse gear. The tank can run at a maximum road speed of 72 km/h with a maximum cruising range of around 450 km.


South Korean K2NO and Geman Leopard 2A7 compete in the snow as future Norway MBT 925 001
South Korean K2NO main battle tank conducts trial tests in the snow of Norway. (Picture source Twitter account Ronkainen)


The K2NO is based on the South Korean K2 Black Panther manufactured by Hyundai Rotem. The layout of the South Korean K2NO Main Battle Tank (MBT) is very different from the Leopard 2A7NO, in fact, the K2NO only has a height of 2.4 m compared to the 3.64 m of the Leopard 2A7NO but booth tanks has the same length.

The K2NO has a crew of three including the driver, commander, and gunner thanks to the use of an automatic loading system that has 16 ready-to-fire ammunition enabling the tank to fire up to 10 rounds per minute. It has a total ammunition capacity of 40 rounds for its main armament.

According to tank users, a well-trained 4-man crew is able to fire as fast as a tank equipped with an automatic loading system, but the 4th man is very important for the maintenance and the support of the tank.

The K2NO provides protection at the front against 120 mm tank rounds. The tank uses both modular composite armor and Explosive Reactive Armor (ERA) blocks which are mounted on the side of the turret. One of the unique features of the K2NO is the use of ERA (Explosive Reactive Armor) around the turret and the integration of the Trophy APS (Active Protection System). TROPHY neutralizes all standard-shaped charge anti-tank threats in flight through four stages of engagement: Threat Detection, Threat Tracking, Countermeasure Activation, and Threat Neutralization. Only those threats which pose a danger to the platform are neutralized, thereby conserving ammunition and minimizing the chance of collateral damage.


South Korean K2NO and Geman Leopard 2A7 compete in the snow as future Norway MBT 925 005
South Korean K2NO main battle tank conducts trial tests in the snow of Norway. (Picture source Twitter account Ronkainen)


According to information provided by Mogens Rasmus Mogensen from Military Equipment Denmark A/S, the main armament of the K2 Black Panther consists of a 120 mm 55 Caliber canon developed by ADD in South Korea and produced by Hyundai Wia. The gun is loaded thanks to the use of an automatic loading system. The autoloader ensures the loading of projectiles on the move even when the vehicle moves on uneven surfaces.

Another key feature of the K2NO is its weight which is only 55,000 kg, and it is about 10,000 kg less than the Leopard 2A7. Citing information from Mogens Rasmus Mogensen, the tank is motorized with a South Korean Doosan engine with a RENK transmission, and in 2 years a complete Korean developed Powerpack, which is already bought by Turkey. The K2 can run at a maximum speed of 70 km/h on surface roads while being able to maintain speeds up to 48 km/h in off-road conditions. It can accelerate from 0 to 32 km/h within 7 seconds.

The Black Panther fields an advanced suspension system, called the In-arm Suspension Unit (ISU), which allows for individual control of every bogie on the tracks. The ISU augments the angular range in which the tank's gun barrel can elevate and depress, allowing the vehicle to fire its main gun downhill as well as engage low-flying aircraft more effectively. The K2 is able to elevate its main gun up to 24 degrees, which allows a curved trajectory attack at a hovering helicopter target 5 km away.


South Korean K2NO and Geman Leopard 2A7 compete in the snow as future Norway MBT 925 004
South Korean K2NO main battle tank conducts trial tests in the snow of Norway. (Picture source Twitter account Ronkainen)


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