Hyundai Rotem has completed the production of the upgraded variant of K1A2 and K2 Black Panther main battle tanks, the DAPA announced on Thursday. It is the third batch of K1A2s mass production for the army’s main tank.
The K1A2 is an improved version of the K1A1 MBT. DAPA, which is the Defense Acquisition Program Administration, said the new line of production is expected to offer better performance than K1A1. This will allow DAPA to interlink the Republic of Korea Army operations with K2 and K21 army vehicles.
The new variant has incorporated an identification system and digital battlefield management system while also working on the front and rear inspection cameras. Here, the front and back cameras will help tanks to get a view and understand the surrounding battle state without coming outside. It will eventually strengthen the safety and convenience of tank operators.
Earlier, the communication would occur through analog radios, which have now been replaced with a digital system. As demanded, Hyundai has added a GPS-based satellite navigation system that will allow troops to obtain real-time updates and understand the battlefield state precisely.
The K1A1, the older variant, is 3.6 m wide, 9.7 m long, and 2.3 m tall, weighing 54.5 tonnes. Additionally, K1A1 allows carrying 32 rounds of bullets. Hyundai Wia Corporation had provided US M256’s licensed version, KM256 120, in this variant. However, DAPA has not announced the specification of the new variant or its features as yet.
While speaking to the media, DAPA also announced that Hyundai Rotem will be completing the production of the K1A2 by 2023.
“The K1A2 tank has secured cooperative combat capabilities so that it can interoperate with K2 tanks and K21 infantry fighting vehicles through performance improvements such as the digital battlefield management system and foe identification equipment,” an official from the DAPA stated.
Along with K1A2, DAPA mentioned the completion of K2 MBT’s latest batch. It is the second batch of the K2, an upgraded version from the K1 MBT series. K2 is expected to have improved firepower, Power-assisted steering.