South Korea’s Defense Procurement Program Agency (DAPA) has approved a budget of 1.94 trillion won (US$1.46 billion) for the production of additional K2 Black Panther main battle tanks (MBT).
However, the number of tanks that will be built within the framework of the five-year project has not been disclosed, Yonhap news agency writes.
This is the fourth round of mass production of the tank manufactured by Hyundai Rotem since it entered service in 2014. Currently, about 260 K2 tanks have been put into service with the Korean Armed Forces from the first three production cycles.
The K2 tanks replaced the old M48 Patton and K1 tanks.
In addition to meeting domestic demand, Hyundai Rotem also received an order from Poland for 180 units of K2 tanks. The $5.7 billion program also includes 212 K9A1 self-propelled howitzers.
Besides Poland, Slovakia and Norway have also expressed interest in acquiring the K2.
Regarding the cooperation between Hyundai Rotem and Poland, the K2 Black Panther tank will also be produced by a consortium between Hyundai Rotem and the Polish Arms Group (PGZ).
22 K2PL (Poland version) tanks were delivered by Hyundai Rotem.
In January 2020, Poland announced negotiations with Hyundai Rotem to obtain a production license for the K2PL for the Polish Army.
On 13 June 2022, the Polish Ministry of Defense announced that it had signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for the purchase of at least 180 K2PL tanks.
The contract includes the rapid supply of tanks and large-scale technology transfer from South Korea. The value of the contract was 3.37 billion US dollars.
The Polish Ministry of Defense also plans to order an additional 820 K2PL tanks. A total of 180 tanks will be produced by Hyundai Rotem in South Korea from 2022.
On March 31, 2023, the Polish Ministry of Defense signed a basic agreement with Hyundai Rotem for the manufacture of the K2PL in Poznań.
The agreement covers the supply of K2PL, redesigned for the needs of the Polish Army, and support vehicles based on the K2PL platform.
The K2 Black Panther is a South Korean main battle tank (MBT) designed by the Defense Development Agency and manufactured by Hyundai Rotem.
The design of this tank began in the 1990s to meet the strategic requirements of the reformed Republic of Korea Army.
Mass production of the K2 began in 2013. The first K2 was delivered to the South Korean Armed Forces in July 2014.
Mass production of the third batch of K2 begins in 2022. It includes an updated Battlefield Management System (BMS) with Korean Variable Message Coordination System (KVMF), Commander’s Panoramic Sighting System (KCPS), Gunner’s Basic Periscope (KGPS) with increased accuracy, functionality and tracking target automatically.
The K2 Black Panther is fitted with a 120mm 55mm chromed CN08 smoothbore gun developed by ADD and WIA (now Hyundai WIA).
The tank is capable of penetrating 30 cm (12 in) of objects at a distance of more than 1 kilometer (0.62 mi).