Hyundai Rotem restarts K2 tank production

30 May 2019

South Korea’s Hyundai Rotem has restarted production of its K2 MBT following a two-year delay. Source: IHS Markit/Kelvin Wong

Key Points

  • Company has commenced K2 mass production following a two-year delay related to the tank's transmission system
  • Hyundai Rotem said it is on track to deliver 100 batch-two tanks to the Republic of Korea Army by 2021

South Korean defence manufacturer Hyundai Rotem has re-commenced mass production of a second batch of K2 Black Panther main battle tanks (MBTs). The company held a ceremony to mark the official start of manufacturing on 27 May at its facility in Changwon.

Hyundai Rotem said that two of the 100 batch-two tanks ordered by the Republic of Korea Army (RoKA) have recently been delivered, adding that it expected production of the remaining tanks to be completed by 2021.

"The batch-two mass production project was signed [to contract] in 2014 and should have been completed by 2017. But the business was suspended for more than two years because the domestic transmission failed to pass durability tests," the company said.

"However, the [South Korean] Ministry of National Defense (MND) decided to combine the domestic K2 engine with a German transmission system. and this [enabled the K2] to pass the driving trials and cold-start trials at the beginning of this year without any abnormality," it added. Hyundai Rotem did not identify the German transmission system.

The company said that as the batch-two K2 tanks are being produced over the coming two years it "hopes that a programme to build a third batch of tanks" can be finalised. Hyundai Rotem also stressed that an additional batch of tanks would support local industry - particularly small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) - that were adversely affected by the delays in producing batch-two tanks.

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