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S Korean Army to deploy 100 indigenous K-2 MBTs by 2017

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A S Korean MBT.

SEOUL (BNS): South Korea will deploy around 100 of its indigenously-built K-2 Black Panther main battle tanks (MBTs) by 2017, the country's defence procurement agency has announced.

The decision in this regard was taken during a defence project committee meeting presided over by Defence Minister Han Min-koo, the Defence Acquisition Programme Administration (DAPA) said.

The MBTs will be fitted with indigenous engines and transmission.

"The K-2 battle tank will allow the military to have advanced combat vehicles with improved mobility and firepower fit for future environments," DAPA spokesman Kim Si-cheol was quioted as saying by the official Yonhap news agency.

"We can overcome numerical inferiority compared to North Korea with this high-quality battle tank, and we expect the K-2 to be actively exported to foreign markets," the official added.

Mass production of the new-generation MBT, set to replace the aging K-1 and US-built M48 tanks, was originally planned to begin in 2009, but faulty indigenous engines and transmission of the tanks halted the production.

Despite some controversy, the Joint Chiefs of Staff lowered the bar for its acceleration performance, paving the way for its deployment, Yonhap said.

South Korea has been developing the Black Panther MBTs since 2006. The tank has been designed to travel at speeds of up to 70 km per hour and can cross rivers as deep as 4.1 meters using a snorkel, according to DAPA. It features an auto-loaded 120mm cannon.

The "power pack" of Black Panther, based on the German-made MTU-890, is made up of a 1,500-horsepower diesel engine and transmission.

According to Yonhap, some 100 K-2s were put into service beginning in July this year.


S Korea  MBT  Army  DAPA  
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