K1E1 Tank

The K1E1 Tank

The K1E1 Tank is described as the “Advanced Version” of the K1 Tank, by the vehicle’s manufacturer Hyundai Rotem. It is an upgrade package for the K1 Tank, rather than a new production model.

Since production of the K1 and K1A1 tanks, South Korea has developed a new Main Battle Tank called the K2 Black Panther. The K2 features many improvements over the K1A1 and includes the latest in South Korean Battlefield Management and C4I networking technology.

The K2 Black Panther, which is in production, will replace the obsolete upgraded M48 Patton tanks in ROKA service. The K1E1 upgrade features the same C4I networking technology of the K2 enabling both tanks to work together on the same network.

K1E1 Tank Development

In 2007, the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS), the Army and the developer of the tank, Hyundai Rotem, consulted one another about the requirements for the K1 & K1A1 tank upgrades. Several upgrade items were decided on at that time with a focus on equipping the tank with the C4I network-centric battlefield management systems as used on the K2 Black Panther Tank.

Other improvements will include an identification friend or foe (IFF) system that fires a Ka band beam for a response from the target. If a proper response signal is shown by the target, the fire control system automatically identifies it as friendly. Otherwise, it is declared as hostile.

Hyundai has already invested in developing an air conditioning system for the K1A1, without budget support from the military. “We’re developing an air conditioning system for the K1A1 and hope that the JCS and DAPA will review the plan positively in terms of the welfare of soldiers as well as the tank’s future exports,” a Hyundai official said, requesting to remain anonymous.

The K1 and K1A1 has been criticized in the South Korean Media for its lack of air-conditioning and the detrimental effect this has had on the crews.

K1E1 Tank Upgrades

Hyundai Rotem deliveries of the K1E1 to the ROKA began in 2014. Hyundai Rotem’s website lists only the following upgrades added: Digital battlefield management systems, IFF equipment, surveillance cameras front and rear. It is expected that all K1 Tanks will be upgraded to the K1E1 by 2026.

K1E1 Tank Specifications

Main Gun 105mm, KM68A1 Rifled
Elevation -10 to +20
Secondary Weapons x1 coaxial 7.62mm MG, x1 7.62mm MG, x1 .50 MG
Ammunition Storage x47 105mm, x8,800 7.62mm, x1,000 .50
Engine 1200hp MTU 871 8-cylinder Diesel
Transmission Renk automatic-transmission (4 forward/ 2 reverse gears)
Top Road Speed 65 km/h (Governed)
Road Range 457 km
Fuel Capacity ? Litres
Vertical Obstacle 1m
Water Capability 1.2m (2.2m with snorkel kit)
Trench Crossing 2.74m
Gradient 60%
Side Slope 30%
Length Gun Forward 9.67m
Length Hull 7.47m
Height 2.24m (roof top)
Ground Clearance 0.46m
Weight 51,000kg aka 51 tonne combat
NBC Protected Yes
Armor Type Steel/Composite
Active Protection Systems No
Commander Yes
Gunner Yes
Loader Yes
Driver Yes
Additional Crew
Troops Carried n/a