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Unidentified North Korean Main Battle Tank

Main battle tank

Best North Korean tank

Currently this is the most capable North Korean tank

 
 
Country of origin North Korea
Entered service ?
Crew 3 or 4 men
Dimensions and weight
Weight ~ 40 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 50 ~ 60 km/h
Range 400 ~ 500 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 Soviet T-62 medium tank was produced in North Korea under license until the 1980s. In the late 1970s and 1980s North Korea began to produce a modified indigenous version of the T-62 tank, the Chonma-Ho (Flying Horse). At the time the T-62 was no longer a cutting-edge tank and way more advanced tanks, such as T-64, T-72 and T-80 tanks were produced in the Soviet Union. So even though North Korea was dragging behind in terms of technology it had the necessary expertise and capabilities to build its own tanks. During the 1980s North Korea went for a new indigenous tank. Some sources reffer it as Seo'ngun. Externally it resembles the T-72 or T-80. Despite that it is still based on the T-62 tank. This new tank can be seen as a North Korean reverse-engineered version of the T-72 or T-80, built using indigenous locally available technology. Some sources report that in the early 1990s North Korea obtained a single Soviet T-80 tank from Afghanistan. It was the most advanced Soviet tank of the time. Some of the North Korean tank's components and subsystem could be sourced from Belarus, China or Russia. So over the years North Korea made considerable modifications to the basic design of the T-62. Currently it is the most capable North Korean tank. However despite all improvements over previous North Korean designs it uses dated technology and is inferior to most contemporary MBTs in all key areas, including protection, firepower and mobility. It can not match contemporary Russian, Chinese or South Korean MBTs. The new tank was first publicly displayed in 2010 during a military parade. It is unknown how many of these new tanks are operational, though is unlikely, that this tank will be produced in large numbers, considering the economical situation of North Korea. Rough estimate could be around 250-500 units.

   This North Korean tank uses a stretched hull of the T-62 medium with an added roadwheel on each side. Longer hull allowed to install a new and more powerful engine. However the hull has been extensively redesigned comparing with the previous North Korean M2002 tank. Most likely that the hull of the M2002 could not support a 125 mm gun due to various design limitations. The new hull is of welded construction. Driver's position has been relocated to the hull's center.

   This tank uses a cast turret of new design. Though most contemporary main battle tanks have welded turrets that are better protected. Protection has been improved over the T-62 and previous Chonma-Ho models. This tank uses add-on Explosive Reactive Armor (ERA) for increased protection. Interestingly tanks displayed during 2010 parade had ERA bricks at the front of the hull only, while tanks displayed in 2012 were fitted with additional bricks at the front of the turret. However these ERA bricks cover only a relatively small space of the front ark.

   This tank is armed with a 125 mm smoothbore gun, similar to that of the Soviet T-72. It is unclear if the tank is fitted with an autoloader or weather the gun is loaded manually. The tank is capable of firing a wide range of ammunition, including HE, HEAT, HE-FRAG and APFSDS rounds. Around 40 rounds are carried for the main gun. Some of the rounds are stored in the turret bustle.

   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. Though improved versions of this tank use a roof mount with two 7.62 mm machine guns instead of the 14.5 mm heavy machine gun.

   Improved version of this tank has a twin mount with Bulsae-3 anti-tank guided missiles. This roof mount packs two launchers. The Bulsae-3 has is a laser-guided version of the Russian Fagot. Some sources estimate that these missiles could have a range of up to 5.5 km. The older Bulsae-2 wire-guided missiles had a range of 2-2.5 km. The use of these missiles might be a good indication that North Koreans lack confidence in the tank's gun.

   This North Korean tank can be equipped with a roof-mounted HT-16PGJ man portable short-range air defense missile. The missile was cloned from the Russian Igla.

   At the time of its introduction this tank used a relatively modern fire control system.

   This North Korean tank is operated by a crew of 3 or 4 men.

   Most likely that this tank is powered by a diesel engine, developing 750 hp. It is mated to a manual gearbox. Maximum road speed is around 50-60 km/h. The road wheels and drive sprockets appears to be T-62 components. Vehicle can be fitted with additional fuel tanks for extended range. This tank carries a deep wading kit and can ford water obstacles up to 5 m deep.

   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 broadly similar special tracked chassis is used by a couple of North Korean ballistic and coastal defense missile systems.

   North Korean army also operates a generally similar, but less capable main battle tank, which is also commonly known as the M2002. It is a heavily modified version of the T-62 with a stretched hull and welded turret. This tank is armed with a less powerful 115 mm gun. Driver's position is on the left side of the hull. This tank was adopted in the late 1990s or early 2000s.

 

 

 
Best North Korean tank

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Best North Korean tank

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Best North Korean tank

Expand image

Best North Korean tank

Expand image

Best North Korean tank

Expand image

Best North Korean tank

Expand image

Best North Korean tank

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