Defense Technology International - June 2008 - (Page 20)
DISPATCHES GLOBAL DONGMIN JANG PHOTOS and a unit price around ¥700 million. A very different main battle tank is emerging in South Korea. Hyundai Rotem’s K2 Black Panther prototype, unveiled in 2007, weighs 55 tons. It is longer and wider than the TK-X and armed with a 120-mm. smoothbore gun. The K2 has an autoloader, hydropneumatic suspension, C4I system and armor modules like the TK-X, but also features a snorkel, identiﬁcation-friend-or-foe (IFF) system and millimeter-wave Doppler radars. South Korea’s only land border is with North Korea, so most of its 2,300 tanks are in the north where they move freely on most roads. South Korea’s wide-track rails have no problem transporting the country’s K1A1 tank. The north has three major rivers parallel to the border with North Korea. This prompted the army to emphasize river-crossing capabilities in the design of the K2 tank (and K21 infantry combat vehicle). The K2 fords 4.1 meters (13.5 ft.) of water using a combined snorkel and “conning tower” that can be installed in 30 min. Because the tank is submerged while fording, its turret is watertight, but the chassis takes up to 440 liters (116 gal.) of water to prevent buoyancy from air inside the tank. The K2 can stay submerged for 30 min. and ﬁre its main gun immediately after surfacing. Another design feature is ﬁring on the move. The gun, developed by WIA, a local company that produces the Rheinmetall L44 gun under license for the K1A1, is South Korea’s XK2 Black Panther prototype has Doppler radar antennas on its turret and reactive armor modules on the turret roof and upper side of the front chassis. with a new automatic transmission last December, making the production powerpack Korean-made. The power-to-weight ratio of the K2 is the same as the TK-X. In-arm suspension units allow a smooth ride on rough ground at over 50 kph. The K2 has two millimeter-wave Doppler radar antennas on the front of the turret and four laser-warning receivers around the turret. Doppler radar detects incoming anti-tank missiles 3 km. away and triggers 20 smoke dischargers around the turret. Laser-warning receivers do the same on sensing laser illumination. A hard-kill active protection system that ﬁres counter-projectiles is planned by 2011, funded by a 44.1-billion-won ($43.3-million) budget. The K2’s protection in the frontal arc is adequate and there is no immediate plan to add armor there. Production versions will have non-explosive reactive armor modules on side skirts and turret sides. The K2 is the ﬁrst tank designed entirely in South Korea. Development cost about 240 billion won. Service entry will be in 2011, and unit price is expected to be around 8.3 billion won. About 800 will be produced from 2010, replacing M48A5K and M48A3K tanks. The TK-X will not be exported unless Japan eases its export ban on weapons. Not so in South Korea. The defense development agency and Hyundai Rotem are keen to export the K2. Negotiations are, in fact, underway with Otokar of Turkey for Hyundai to be a technology supplier for the Turkish main battle tank project. I AviationWeek.com/dti fed by a bustle autoloader containing 16 ready rounds. The autoloader’s rate of ﬁre is una ected when the tank is moving, and it reduces the crew to three by eliminating a loader. Autoloaders have, however, been criticized for poor reliability since the 1960s. It remains to be seen whether the Japanese and Korean autoloaders perform as advertised. To improve accuracy on the move, a dynamic muzzle reference system in the gun mantlet constantly measures and compensates for muzzle movement. In-arm suspension units fitted to each road wheel absorb recoil, making the K2 a stable gun platform. The K2 can carry 40 rounds, including ﬁn-stabilized tungsten penetrators. The IFF system in the mantlet emits a 38-GHz. beam in the direction the gun points and declares an entity hostile if it fails to respond correctly. The engine on the prototype K2 is a 1,500-hp. diesel from G e r m a n y ’s M T U. But Doosan Infracore demonstrated a new 1,500-hp. diesel engine in July 2007, and S&T Heavy InXK2 with snorkel demonstrated fording d u s t r i e s fo l l owe d capability by crossing the South Han River. DEFENSE TECHNOLOGY INTERNATIONAL JUNE 2008 20
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