02 November 2010
K2 Black Panther MBT (photo : Korea Times)
The production of the homegrown K2 Black Panther main battle tank will begin soon after a one-year delay due to a problem with the tank’s “power pack” transmission system, the Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA) said Monday.
A set of field tests have shown that the domestically-built power pack, which is comprised of a 1,500-horsepower, 12-cylinder diesel engine and transmission, is now good to go, a DAPA official said.
“We’ve been informed that all the minor glitches of the K2 power pack have been taken care of and now there are no problems,” the official said. “We’ll sign a production deal with manufacturers concerned as soon as possible.” The advanced battle tank will be operational for use by the Army by the end of next year at the earliest, he said.
Originally, the production of some 390 K2 tanks was scheduled to begin early this year to replace the Army’s K1 tanks and its aging M48 Patton tanks.
Unveiled in 2007, the K2, developed by the state-funded Agency for Defense Development and Hyundai Rotem, is a major defense product to fulfill domestic needs and sales overseas. The K2 technology was exported to Turkey years ago.
The K2 carries a three-person crew supported by an auto-loading system, and a locally-developed 120-millimeter/55-caliber stabilized smoothbore gun. The fully-digitalized vehicle has an electric gun/turret driving system, automatic sensor input and power monitoring and control system.
Its 1,500-horsepower engine can power the tank to 70 kilometers per hour on paved roads and 50 kilometers off-road. It can cross rivers as deep as 4.1 meters, a considerable improvement over the K1 and K1A1, and fire as soon as it resurfaces.