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K2 Black Panther

Main battle tank

K2 Black Panther MBT

The K2 Black Panther is one of the most advanced main battle tanks in the world

Entered service ?
Crew 3 men
Dimensions and weight
Weight 55 t
Length 10 m
Hull length 7.5 m
Width 3.6 m
Height 2.5 m
Main gun 120-mm / L55 smoothbore
Machine guns 1 x 12.7-mm, 1 x 7.62-mm
Elevation range ?
Traverse range 360 degrees
Combat load
Main gun 40 rounds
Machine guns 3 200 x 12.7, 12 000 x 7.62
Engine MTU MB-883 Ka500 diesel
Engine power 1 500 hp
Maximum road speed 70 km/h
Range 400 - 430 km
Gradient 60%
Side slope 40%
Vertical step 1.3 m
Trench ~ 2.8 m
Fording 1.2 m
Fording with preparation 4.2 m


   The K2 Black Panther main battle tank evolved from the XK2 programme. This next-generation MBT was developed in South Korea using indigenous technology only. Its development began in 1995. First prototype was revealed in 2007. Since then this tank was trialed and evaluated. Production contract for the first 100 K2 tanks was signed in 2014. South Korean Army has a requirement for around 300 of these new tanks. Eventually the K2 Black Panther will replace the older K1 main battle tanks.

   Currently the K2 is one of the most advanced main battle tank in the world, outclassing anything North Korea or China have. Furthermore it is the most expensive main battle tank to date, overtaking the Japanese Type 90 MBT.

   This tank uses both modular composite armor of undisclosed type and Explosive Reactive Armor (ERA) 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.

   Protection of the K2 is broadly similar to the M1A2 Abrams MBT considering that the K2 is significantly lighter. It is claimed that the K2 is superior to the M1A2 Abrams.

   The Black Panther is armed with a Rheinmetall 120-mm/ L55 smoothbore gun. This gun 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.

   The 120-mm gun can fire variety of munitions. It is compatible with all standard NATO tank rounds. It is also capable of firing the new KSTAM (Korean Smart Top-Attack Munition) rounds. These are smart target-activated fire-and-forget projectiles, but shouldn't be confused with anti-tank guided missiles. The KSTAM has its own guidance system, aided by four stabilizing fins. At the final stage a parachute will deploy to slow its fall and accurately engage target. Such principle is broadly similar to mortar-launched anti-tank munitions. Furthermore the K-2 tank can fire KSTAM munitions from behind the cover. The KSTAM has a maximum effective range of 8 kilometers.

   Secondary armament consists of coaxial 7.62-mm machine gun and K6 12.7-mm heavy machine gun, mounted on top of the roof. Both of these machine gun have a very respectable ammunition load (12 000 x 7.62-mm and 3 200 x 12.7-mm). Furthermore the K6 heavy machine gun has an automatic system, that identifies friend from a foe.

   This main battle tank has a crew of three, including commander, gunner and driver.

   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 Korean K2 is powered by the license-built MTU MB-883 Ka500 engine, developing 1 500 horsepower. There is also an auxiliary gas-turbine power unit, developing 400 horsepower. It powers onboard systems when the main engine is turned off. 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. This feature gives tank a number of advantages, furthermore it is claimed that such suspension system is easier to maintain, comparing with traditional one.

   The Black Panther tank is fitted with a deep wading kit. It enables vehicle to cross rivers and other water obstacles up to 4.2 meters deep. Previous K1 and K1A1 MBTs lacked this feature.

   Price of the K2 tank is $7.5 Million. It is also being offered for export customers. Turkey has successfully negotiated import or license production of the K2 subsystems. The new Turkish Altay MBT uses some technologies of the K2 Black Panther MBT.

   It was one of the first articles on the internet about the K2 main battle tank!


Video of the K2 main battle tank


K2 Black Panther MBT

K2 Black Panther MBT

K2 Black Panther MBT

K2 Black Panther MBT

K2 Black Panther MBT

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