Just 3 months after signing the contract, South Korea handed over to Poland the first 10 K2 Black Panther main battle tanks.
Based on the first execution agreement signed in August, Poland is to receive 180 K2 main battle tanks by the year 2025, while another 820 will be produced domestically by Poland. South Korea and Poland in August 2022 signed a huge defense agreement worth 14.5 billion USD. In addition to the FA-50 fighter or the K9 self-propelled howitzer, the most notable are 1,000 K2 Black Panther tanks.
According to information published on November 6, 2022, the Korean manufacturer has delivered the first batch of 24 K9PL self-propelled guns nicknamed “Thunder” and 10 K2 Black Panther tanks to the Polish armed forces. The handover of a significant number of tanks and self-propelled guns to partners after only 3 months of signing shows that the potential of the Korean defense technology industry is very respectable.
It is known that the Korean-made K2 Black Panther tank is being evaluated as the “king of tanks” in Asia, considering all the criteria overall. In 1995, the Korea Defense Development Agency was tasked with developing a modern armored fighting vehicle using advanced domestic technologies, bearing the designation K2 Black Panther. The K2 Black Panther will supplement in service the upgraded K1 and K1A1 main battle tanks.
The K2 uses both modular composite armor of undisclosed type and Explosive Reactive Armor blocks. It is claimed that front armor withstands direct hits from 120 mm tank rounds, fired from L55 guns. The Black Panther tank is also completed with an active protection system and countermeasures system. The tank is also completed with an NBC protection system.
The main weapon of the K2 is a Rheinmetall 120 mm/L55 smoothbore gun, which is license-produced in South Korea. The K2 is completed with an automatic loader. This MBT has a maximum rate of fire in 15 rounds per minute. It is worth mentioning that autoloader’s is similar to that, used on the French Leclerc main battle tank. A total of 16 rounds are stored in the autoloader. Remaining 24 rounds are stored inside the hull.
It also has a very advanced fire control system, allowing to track and engage not only the main battle tanks, but low-flying helicopters as well. Maximum effective range of fire is up to 10 kilometers. Furthermore its fire control system can spot, track and fire automatically at visible vehicle-size targets without needing any input from a human operator.
Mass production began in 2013 and the first K2s were deployed in June 2014. K2 tank is equipped with a MTU MT-883 Ka-501 diesel engine, 12 cylinders, water-cooled, with a capacity of 1,500 horsepower and automatic transmission. Thanks to this engine, the vehicle can reach a maximum road speed of 75 km/h and 50 km/h when off road, with a range of about 400 km.
Other features of the K2 tank include digital battlefield management system and navigation system for rapid coordination. The K2 can rapidly report combat situation, thus increasing situational awareness of friendly forces. The K2 Black Panther has a state-of-the-art semi-active hydropneumatic suspension. Every boogie wheel can be individually controlled, allowing this MBT to “sit”, “stand”, “kneel” or to “lean” in any direction.
K2 combines many advantages of both Russian and American tanks. It has advanced combat management system, automatic loader, active self-defense system, navigation system, semi-active suspension, NBC protection system and so on. With its extremely advanced features, it is easy to understand why Korea’s K2 Black Panther main battle tank has a unit price of up to $ 8.5 million / unit even after entering mass production. In addition to South Korea and Poland, Egypt and Norway are also planning to order this tank.