South Korea’s Next-Generation Battle Tank: K2 Black Panther

The K2 Black Panther is a next generation South Korean main battle tank designed by the South Korean Agency for Defense Development and manufactured by Hyundai Rotem. The MBT is intended to provide improved performance in the 21st century network battle environment by employing improved ergonomics and digitalisation.

The K2 Black Panther is a new type of high tech battle tank and will replace K1 series of vehicles and M48 tanks. The new MBT features enhanced mobility and fire power compared to the K1 vehicles, and is regarded as one of the best main battle tanks in the world.

The K2 Black Panther MBT has a crew of three members including commander, gunner and driver. The vehicle is 10.8m long, 3.6m wide and 2.4m in height. The ground clearance of the vehicle is 0.45m and the combat weight is 55t.

The main armament of the K2 Black Panther is a 120mm L/55 smoothbore gun with automatic loader. The autoloader ensures the loading of projectiles on the move even when the vehicle moves on uneven surfaces. The 120mm gun can fire about 10 rounds per minute. The secondary armament of the tank includes a 12.7mm heavy machine gun and a 7.62mm machine gun.

The K2 Black Panther is equipped with auto target detection and tracking system, and hunter killer function. It also features electric gun and turret driving system (28-260VDC) provided by Doosan Corporation Mottrol. The gunner’s primary sight (GPS) and commander’s panoramic sight (CPS) are stabilised in two axes, and include a thermal imager and laser rangefinder enabling day / night observation.

The K2 MBT is fitted with Composite Armour and Explosive Reactive Armour (ERA). It also consists of a collective nuclear, biological and chemical (NBC) protection system. The ammunition compartment is equipped with a blow-off panel for protecting the crew against the explosion of ammunition. An active protection system is installed on the MBT to provide protection against anti-tank rockets and missiles. It includes soft and hard kill systems.

The K2 Black Panther is powered by a MT 833 diesel engine from Tognum. The engine generates 1,500hp and provides a power to weight ratio of 27.3hp/t. The fully automatic transmission of the vehicle includes five forward and three reverse gears.

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