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Hyundai Rotem completes production of latest batches of K1A2 and K2 MBTs

DAPA has completed delivery of a second batch of K2 main battle tanks to the Republic of Korea Army. (Hyundai Rotem)

South Korea's Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA) has announced that local firm Hyundai Rotem has completed production of its latest batches of the K1A2 and K2 Black Panther main battle tanks (MBTs).

According to DAPA, the third batch of the mass-produced K1A2s offers “improved performance” over the K1A1 MBT, enabling interlinked Republic of Korea Army (RoKA) operations with the K2 MBTs and K21 infantry fighting vehicles (IFVs). Other enhancements include the integration of a digital battlefield management system, an identification system, and front and back cameras, among others.

DAPA also said that a new digital system integrated onto the latest batch has replaced a previous analogue equipment. The third-batch K1A2s also feature GPS-based satellite navigation systems to enable real-time information sharing and accurate battlefield identification, said DAPA. It added that Hyundai Rotem's production of the K1A2 is expected to end in 2023.

The K1A2 is an upgraded variant of the K1A1 MBT. Janes Armour and Artillery assesses that the K1A2 is also likely equipped with a command-and-control (C2) system along with digital datalink and maps.

According to Janes Armour and Artillery , the K1A1 is 9.7 m long, 3.6 m wide, 2.3 m tall, and weighs 54.5 tonnes. The K1A1 MBT features a KM256 120 mm smoothbore gun, a licensed-produced version of the US M256 manufactured by Hyundai Wia Corporation. Further, the K1A1 can carry 32 rounds of ammunition.

In addition, DAPA has announced recently that Hyundai Rotem has completed the second production batch of the K2 MBT.

DAPA said the K2 features enhanced manoeuvrability, firepower, and protection over the K1 MBT series.

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