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M2002

Main battle tank

North Korean MBT

The M2002 is one of the most capable North Korean MBTs

 
 
Country of origin North Korea
Entered service ?
Crew 4 men
Dimensions and weight
Weight 44 t
Length (gun forward) ~ 9.5 m
Hull length ~ 6.8 m
Width 3.5 m
Height 2.4 m
Armament
Main gun 115 mm smoothbore
ATGW Bulsae-3 (on improved versions)
Machine guns 1 x 14.5 mm, 1 x 7.62 mm
Elevation range ?
Traverse range 360 degrees
Ammunition load
Main gun ~ 40 rounds
ATGW 2 missiles (on improved versions)
Machine guns 300 x 14.5 mm, 1 500 x 7.62 mm
Mobility
Engine diesel
Engine power ~ 750 hp
Maximum road speed 60 km/h
Range 450 km
Maneuverability
Gradient 60%
Side slope 40%
Vertical step ~ 0.9 m
Trench ~ 2.8 m
Fording 1.2 m
Fording (with preparation) 5 m

 

   The new North Korean tank was developed in the late 1990s to replace the older Ch'onma-Ho (Flying Horse) series medium tanks, based on the Soviet T-62. Some sources report that its actual name is Chonma-216. Currently it is one of the most capable North Korean Main Battle Tank (MBT). It was first observed during performance trials in 2002, hence the M2002 designation. However official pictures of this tank were released only in 2010. Previously it was speculated that this North Korean main battle tank is a derivative of the Soviet T-72. However it appeared the M2002 is a further development of the older T-62, which was produced in North Korea. Actual production numbers of this MBT are unknown, however it is believed that around 250-500 of these tanks were operational by 2013. It is unlikely, that this tank will be produced in large numbers, considering the economical situation of North Korea. Eventually improved versions of this MBT appeared.

   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. This indicates that the tank is fitted with new and more powerful engine. 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. A large wedge-shaped passive armor module is bolted at the front of the turret for improved protection. Large lumps of passive armor is also bolted at the front of the hull. There is a small turret bustle at the rear, which possibly contains crew gear or additional ammunition. This MBT can be fitted with explosive reactive armor kit. The tank is also reportedly 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.

   Most likely that the M2002 is armed with a 115 mm smoothbore gun, similar to that of the T-62. Most likely that North Koreans could not install a more capable 125 mm gun on this chassis due to various limitations. The 115 mm gun is capable of firing a wide range of ammunition, including HE, HEAT, HE-FRAG and APFSDS rounds. However even the old South Korean K1 tank will be a hard nut to crack.

This gun is loaded manually. Interestingly this gun has got no thermal sleeve. This tank carries around 40 rounds of ammunition.

   There is an automatic spent case ejection system which was carried over from the T-62. However this system results in slow firing rate of only around 4 rounds per minute. Also when the case is ejected the tank looses its hermetical tightness.

   Secondary armament consists of coaxial 7.62 mm machine gun. There is also a 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. This heavy machine gun is effective against most lightly armored vehicles.

   In 2013 improved versions of this tank was observed, fitted with two Bulsae-3 ATGM launchers. This twin missile mount is fitted on top of the roof. The Bulsae-3 anti-tank guided missile has a claimed effective range of 5.5 km and is comparable with a Russian Kornet. Though adding these anti-tank missiles on the tank might be a good indication that North Koreans lack confidence in the tank's gun.

   This tank can be equipped with one of two man portable short-range air defense missiles, possibly HT-16PGJ. These missiles are cloned from the Russian Igla and are mounted on top of the roof.

   This tank uses a relatively modern digital fire control system. However its night vision equipment is out-dated.

   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.

   It is unknown if any specialized variant of this MBT, such as armored recovery vehicle, bridgelayer or armored engineer vehicle have been produced. However a similar special tracked chassis with 6 road wheels was used by a coastal defense missile system, which carries Kumsong 3 (Venus 3) anti-ship missiles.

   North Korea also operates an externally similar unidentified MBT, which has stretched chassis with 6 road wheels, cast half-egg shaped turret and is armed with a 125 mm main gun.

 

Variants

 

   Updated version of the M2002, fitted with twin-roof mounted 7.62 mm machine gun mount, added mount with 2 man portable anti-aircraft missiles and another mount with two Bulsae-3 anti-tank guided missile launchers. This tank also has got improved fire control system.

 

 

 
North Korean MBT

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North Korean MBT

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North Korean MBT

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North Korean MBT

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North Korean MBT

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North Korean MBT

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North Korean MBT

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North Korean MBT

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