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South Korea approves funding for third batch of K2 MBTs

South Korea's MND has approved funding for a third batch of K2 MBTs, similar to the one pictured above. (Hyundai Rotem)

South Korea's Ministry of National Defense (MND) has allocated funding for a third batch of Hyundai Rotem K2 main battle tanks (MBTs).

Funding for the programme was contained in South Korea's 2023 defence budget, which was announced in late August.

Funding for the third K2 batch was part of a KRW6.64 trillion (USD4.8 billion) package contained in the budget to strengthen “operational response capabilities”, the MND said. The package also includes the procurement of additional Ulsan-class Batch III frigates and ammunition. The total 2023 defence budget is KRW57.1 trillion.

Citing sources, Janes has previously reported that the third K2 batch could comprise a total of 54 MBTs, with the new tanks expected to feature a locally developed engine and a German-made transmission system, like those made in the second batch. However, Hyundai Rotem and the Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA) have not yet confirmed this, and had not responded to Janes questions about the third batch, at the time of publication.

In December 2021 Hyundai Rotem announced that it had been awarded a KRW533 billion contract by DAPA to produce a third batch of K2 MBTs, with deliveries expected to start in 2023.

Hyundai Rotem confirmed to Janes in late 2019 that it was building 106 K2 MBTs for the Republic of Korea Army (RoKA) under a batch-two production contract awarded in late 2014. The production of the second batch was confirmed as completed in early 2022.

The first batch of K2s, which numbered 100 tanks, were built by Hyundai Rotem under a contract signed in 2011 and delivered to the RoKA from 2014 onwards.

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