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K2 Black Panther - South Korea's World Leading MBT

Compared to other contemporary MBTs like the Challenger 2 and Abrams, the K2 Black Panther is a very recent design. The K2 is full of cutting-edge systems and technologies as a fourth-generation MBT.


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Isabella White

a year ago | 2 min read

Compared to other contemporary MBTs like the Challenger 2 and Abrams, the K2 Black Panther is a very recent design. The K2 is full of cutting-edge systems and technologies as a fourth-generation MBT.

The Leopard 2, M1A2 Abrams, Challenger 2 and T-14 Armata are often regarded as the top dogs on today’s lists of current main battle tanks. However, South Korea’s K2 Black Panther certainly deserves a place near the top of these lists.

Designed almost entirely in house by South Korea, the K2 is one of the newest and most advanced main battle tanks (MBT) around today.

An intense development phase saw South Korea investigate and incorporate the best features from foreign designs into a single high performing machine.

The K2 Black Panther outguns even the M1A2 Abrams, but despite its heavyweight punch, it is more than 10 tons lighter than its American counterpart.

Production of the K2 started in 2008 and the tank entered service in 2014. Today, it is South Korea’s most formidable armored vehicle.

The K2 Black Panther

Compared to other contemporary MBTs like the Challenger 2 and Abrams, which entered service in the 1990s and 1980s respectively, the K2 Black Panther is a very recent design.

As a fourth generation MBT the K2 is packed full of cutting edge systems and technologies.

It is protected by conventional steel, classified composite armor, explosive reactive armor and active protection systems.

For about the first 100 vehicles built, the German 1,500 hp MTU MT-883 ka501 V12 diesel engine was used due to supply issues with South Korea’s planned engine. However these supply issues were rectified, and the following tanks were produced with locally manufactured power packs of equal power.

The vehicle weighs 61 tons.

One of its most famous features is its advanced suspension system which is known as the In-arm Suspension Unit (ISU). Each bogie can be controlled independently from the rest.

The K2 Black Panther is able to improve off-road handling by adjusting each bogie to best suit the terrain at hand. It also gives the tank the ability to “sit”, “kneel” and “lean” by dropping the suspension at the back, front or on one side.

This significantly increases the tank’s usable gun depression and elevation.

Conclusion

There is no doubt that the K2 Black Panther is one of the best tanks in the world right now (at least in general metrics). There is even a fair argument to be made that it is the premier MBT on the planet right now.

The tank has already received some great export success, with Poland recently signing a multi-billion dollar deal with South Korea to receive, and locally manufacture up to 1,000 K2 Black Panther tanks in the coming years.

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