This is a new tank that North Korea has made by improving the former Soviet Union-made T-62 tank. The North's Korean Central Broadcasting Stati (all photos : Yonhap)
SEOUL, (Yonhap) -- A North Korean TV station recently aired rare footage of the communist regime's new main battle tank, coming under close scrutiny by South Korea's intelligence agency, an intelligence official said Tuesday.
The North's new tank, named "Pokpung-ho," was believed to have been developed in the 1990s based on the Soviet Union's T-72 tanks and underwent performance trials in 2002, according to South Korean defense ministry officials.
No photographs of the North Korean tank previously existed in public circulation, but the North's Korean Central TV Station recently broadcast the footage of the Pokpung-ho, which means "Storm Tiger" in Korean, the intelligence official said.
"We are analyzing the footage of the Pokpung-ho aired by the North's Korean Central TV Station," the intelligence official said on the condition of anonymity. The official didn't say exactly when the North aired the footage.
The new tank showed higher performance in terms of firepower and maneuverability than the North's previous main battle tank called "Chonma-ho," said the official, citing the footage.
The North's new tank is believed to be equipped with either a 125mm or 115mm main gun, similar to that of the T-90 main battle tank of the Russian Army, according to the South's defense ministry officials.
The number of deployed tanks is unknown, but only one North Korean tank unit is believed to possess the advanced tanks, ministry officials said.
The two Koreas are still technically at war because the 1950-53 Korean War ended with a cease-fire, not a peace treaty.