Hyundai Rotem from South Korea unveils K2PL main battle tank for Polish army

It came after The Korea Times website reported in January that the company could sign a deal with the Polish government to develop and produce 800 K2 Black Panther main battle tanks

The K2 Tank. Photo: Hyundai Rotem

 The Army Recognition website reported that at the MSPO 2020 Defense exhibition in Poland, South Korean company Hyundai Rotem unveiled a scale model of the K2PL Main Battle Tank, a South Korean variant the K2 Black Panther tailored for the Polish army.  It came after The Korea Times website reported in January that Hyundai Rotem could sign a deal with the Polish government to develop and produce 800 K2 Black Panther main battle tanks.

The K2 Black Panther is the latest generation of the Main Battle Tank (MBT) developed by the South Korean defense company for the Korean armed forces. The K2 was unveiled for the first time to the public during the Defense Exhibition ADEX at Seoul Airport in October 2009. Mass production of the tank started in 2013 and the first K2 MBTs entered into service with the South Korean army in 2014.

The main armament of the K2 Black Panther consists of a German-made Rheinmetall 120-mm/ L55 smoothbore gun produced under license in South Korea. The gun is fitted with an automatic loader with 16 rounds ready to fire and 24 rounds stored inside the hull. The second armament includes one 7.62 mm coaxial machine gun mounted to the left side of the main armament. A 12.7 mm K-6 heavy machine gun is mounted on the top right of the turret. The layout of the K2 MBT is conventional, with the driver's compartment at the front, fighting compartment in the center, and engine and transmission at the rear. The armor on the Black Panther consists of an unknown type of composite armor and an Active Defense System utilizing Explosive Reactive Armor blocks. The K2 has a crew of three with a driver at the front center of the hull and commander and gunner in the turret.

According to an analysis by Army Recognition, the design of the K2PL includes a new armor package mounted around the turret as well as on the side of the hull. The roof of the turret is fitted with a remotely operated weapon station armed with a 12.7mm machine gun. The main armament seems to be the same. To increase the protection of the tank against rocket propelled grenade threats, the rear side of the hull is fitted with a wire cage armor. The roof the turret is also equipped with an Active Protection System designed to counter antitank guided missiles, but not high velocity, high explosive or kinetic energy tank-fired munitions.

The K2PL is powered by a 1,500 hp Diesel engine coupled to an automatic transmission with five forward and three reverse gears. The suspension of the K2PL consists of seven road wheels instead of six on the original K2. It can run at a maximum speed of 70 km/h with a maximum cruising range of 450 km.