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South Korea plans local transmission for fourth batch of K2 MBTs

South Korea's DAPA is planning to equip the fourth production batch of the K2 MBTs with transmission developed by local firm SNT Dynamics. An example of the K2 MBT is pictured above. (Hyundai Rotem)

South Korea's Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA) plans to equip the fourth batch of the Hyundai Rotem K2 main battle tanks (MBTs) with indigenous 1,500 hp EST15K transmission developed by SNT Dynamics.

A spokesperson for DAPA told Janes on 20 June that the organisation is “planning to use local transmission made by SNT Dynamics for [K2] tanks in the fourth batch”.

According to SNT Dynamics, the EST15K transmission comprises six forward and three reverse gears with automatic shifting using a proportional valve.

DAPA allocated KRW1.94 trillion (USD1.51 billion) in late May to produce the fourth batch of K2s between 2024 and 2028. However, DAPA did not disclose the number of tanks to be built in the new batch.

The third production batch – thought to number about 54 units – was approved by DAPA in late 2020 and featured German company Renk's transmission system.

The DAPA spokesperson said the tanks for the third batch will be equipped with “imported transmission”.

According to Janes Land Warfare Platforms: Armoured Fighting Vehicles, the K2 is a third-generation MBT, which can be operated by a crew of three and weighs 56 tonnes.

The K2's armament comprises a 120 mm L/55 smoothbore gun, a co-axial 7.62 mm machine gun, 12 turret-mounted smoke grenade launchers, and a roof-mounted 12.7 mm machine gun.

The Republic of Korea Army (RoKA) intends to replace ageing M48 Patton tanks and K1 MBTs with K2s.

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