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Main battle tank


The M2002 looses to most contemporary MBTs in terms of protection, firepower and mobility

Entered service Late 1990s
Crew 4 men
Dimensions and weight
Weight 44 t
Length (gun forward) ?
Hull length ?
Width 3.5 m
Height 2.4 m
Main gun 115-mm smoothbore
Machine guns 1 x 14.5-mm, 1 x 7.62-mm
Elevation range ?
Traverse range 360 degrees
Ammunition load
Main gun ~ 40 rounds
Machine guns 300 x 14.5, 1 500 x 7.62
Engine diesel
Engine power ~ 750 hp
Maximum road speed 50 ~ 60 km/h
Range 400 ~ 500 km
Gradient 60%
Side slope 40%
Vertical step ~ 0.9 m
Trench ~ 2.8 m
Fording 1.2 m
Fording (with preparation) 5 m


   The P'okpong (storm) is the latest North Korean main battle tank. It is also popularly known as the M2002. Previously it was speculated that the new North Korean main battle tank is a derivative of the Soviet T-72. However it seems that the M2002 is a further development of the older T-62, which was license-produced in North Korea. The M2002 was developed in the late 1990s to replace the previous Ch'onma (Flying Horse) series of medium tanks, based on the Soviet T-62. It was first observed during performance trials in 2002, hence the designation. Actual production numbers of the new MBT are unknown, however it is believed that only few of these new tanks are operational. It is unlikely, that this new tank will be produced in large numbers, considering the current economical situation of North Korea.

   It is clear, that considerable modification were made to original design of the T-62. It uses a stretched hull with one road wheel added on each side. It is believed that some of its components and subsystems are imported from China, Russia and possible Belarus.

   Vehicle has a welded hull and turret. Turret has a large wedge-shaped armor module, bolted onto the front for improved protection. A large turret bustle is built at the rear, which possibly contains crew gear or additional ammunition. This MBT possibly might be fitted with explosive reactive armor kit. The tank is also fitted with countermeasures system, which reduces chance of being hit by enemy anti-tank guided weapons. However in terms of protection the M2002 looses to most current MBTs.

   The M2002 is possibly armed with a 115-mm smoothbore gun, similar to that of the T-62. It is capable of firing a wide range of ammunition, including HE, HEAT, HE-FRAG and APFSDS rounds. Despite that it is inferior to modern 120-mm and 125-mm tank guns. This tank might carry over 40 rounds of ammunition. It is believed that this gun is loaded manually.

   Secondary armament consists of coaxial 7.62-mm machine gun and another manually-operated 14.5-mm heavy machine gun, mounted on top of the roof. It is used to engage ground and low-flying air targets.

   Some sources report, that this tank can be fitted with Bulsae-3 ATGM launcher. The launcher is mounted over the main gun. It has a claimed effective range of 5.5 km and is comparable with the Russian Kornet ATGW (NATO designation AT-14 Spriggan). Also this tank can be equipped with two man portable short-range air defense missiles. Missiles are possible cloned from the Russian Igla and are mounted on top of the roof.

   The P'okpong uses a relatively modern digital fire control system. However its night vision equipment is out-dated.

   It is believed that this tank has a crew of 4, including commander, gunner, loader and driver.

   North Korean sources claim that this tank is powered by a diesel engine, developing 1 200 hp. However it is possible that its actual power output is only about 750 hp. Its claimed maximum road speed is 70 km/h. The road wheels and drive sprockets appears to be T-62 components. Vehicle can be fitted with additional fuel tanks for expended range. This tank carries a deep wading kit and can ford water obstacles up to 5 m deep.

   The M2002 losses to most contemporary main battle tanks in all critical aspects, such as protection, firepower and mobility. It could not match even older Russian, Chinese or South Korean main battle tanks. Currently it is unknown if any specialized variant of this MBT, such as armored recovery vehicle, bridgelayer or engineering vehicle have been produced.