South Korea delays production of newest main battle tank for three years

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South Korea has delayed production of its new K2 main battle tank by up to three years due to technical issues.

The military planned to build 100 Hyundai Rotem K2 (Black Panther) tanks for the army, however, there are issues with the domestically-produced transmissions for the new armor.

The objective is to build a tank power plant capable of producing 1,500 HP via the 12 cylinder diesel engine that is made by the South Korean Doosan Corp. but the current transmission keeps failing reliability and durability testing.

The tanks were initially to be completed by 2017, but now the government envisions a completion date of between 2019-2020.

The South Korean army currently operates 100 of the K2s but those are outfitted with a German-made engine and transmission. In all, the army has a requirement of between 400-600 main battle tanks as it seeks to replace K1 MBTs and aging U.S.-made M48 Patton tanks.

When the South Koreans get the power plant issues straightened out, the K2 will be one of the world’s most advanced MBTs.

Analyst comment: This delay should not affect the South Korea military’s ability to face off, successfully, against North Korean armor, which is considered inferior, even if more numerable.

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