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K2 Black Panther Tank
South Korea

K2 Black Panther Main Battle Tank

Polish K2
Unveiled / Entered Service
In Service
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Table of Contents

Steel Aces Play for free
the highly anticipated MMO tactical tank shooter for 2024.


The South Korean K2 Black Panther Tank is a 3rd Generation Main Battle Tank in service with the Republic Of Korea Army (ROKA) and Polish Army.

Manufactured by Hyundai Rotem, its design and technologies (with the exception of its engine) are completely indigenous to South Korea, with a unit cost of $8.5 million.

The K2 Black Panther Tank has a number of firepower, protection and mobility improvements over the K1A1 Tank and is gradually replacing the dated upgraded M48 Patton’s in ROKA service.

Manufactured in batches, the design has been continually improved, with production switched for the ROKA in 2022 to those of the Polish Army.


With a budget of US$230 million, development of the K2 started in 1995,with the goal of using state-of-the-art domestic technologies. The basic design was completed in 2006, with production of x3 prototype vehicles the following year for ROKA trials.

Under supervision of the Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA) trials commenced in 2009 and following a number of issues with an indigenous engine, which resulted in both a significant start date for manufacturing the K2, but also an audit into DAPA where it was discovered that DAPA falsely wrote up reports and covered up several faults which were detected in the alternative MTU engine in 2012.

Production of the first batch of K2 using a non-indigenous engine started in 2014, with delivery’s starting to the ROKA in the same year.

The K2 has a x3 man crew. The Driver sits on the left side of the hull. The Gunners station is located on the left side of the turret and the Commander is on the right with the main guns breach between them. This is fed by the autoloader from the magazine in the turrets bustle (rear of the turret). The power pack is located in the hull rear. Its not clear if the K2 has an air-conditioning system for the crew.


The K2 Black Panther Tank is equipped with a 120mm smoothbore main gun. This is a calibre Length 55. This means the K2 can fire the standard ammunition used by the K1A1, but with the increased Length, generate a higher level of muzzle velocity. This increases the rounds range, accuracy and penetration of KE rounds.

The main gun theoretically can also fire other more effective 120mm ammunition developed for other L55 main guns. South Korea has reportedly developed a new series of 120mm ammunition for the main gun, which includes The Korean Smart Top-Attack Munition (KSTAM).

KSTAM is a fire and forget, top attack weapon. It is fired at ranges of up to 8km, where it drops shaped charged penetrators with radar technology capable of detecting targets. Once detected, the charge detonates penetrating the top of the target, which is normally the least protected area.

The K2 main gun is fully stabilized. The Fire Control System features a ballistic computer, atmospheric sensors and thermal channels for the both the Gunners and Commanders Independent Sight. the FCS also has an Auto Target Detection and Tracking capability.

Auto Loader

Another significant feature of the K2 Black Panther, is the decision to employee an auto-loader and reduce the crew to 3 men.

The autoloader is mounted in the turrets bustle and stores 16 rounds of the 40 carried (just like the French Leclerc Tank). The remaining rounds are stored in the hull, most likely on the front right hand side of the hull under the added Explosive Reactive Armour.


The K2 employees a modular armour system across the hull and turret fronts containing an unspecified Composite or Passive armour, with armoured side skirts to protect against RPG attack.

In addition the K2 has received a distinct Explosive Reactive Armour package in the later part of its development, made up of small square bricks. It is employed in panels along the sides of the hull and turret, upper glacis of the hull and the roof of the turret above the breech as well as the crew hatches.

The K2 features full NBC protection and an internal fire detection and suppression system. The Electrical Turret drive and Main Gun stabilization offer increased protection for the crew compared to that of hydraulic systems

Active Protection Systems

The K2 currently is equipped with a “Soft Kill” Active Protection System. This comprises:

  • BLUE – Laser Warning Receivers
  • RED – Radar Warning Receivers
  • GREEN – VIRSS Grenade Launchers (Screens against Infa-Red, optical detection and radar)
  • WHITE – Jammer

South Korea has successfully developed, trialled and installed its KAPS (Korean Active Protection System) on a K2 Black Panther. The system is not yet in service and is planned to be added in the K2 PIP upgrade. The system comprises of x2 launchers, 1 mounted each side of the turret.


The K2 suspension is Hydropneumatic and has the same suspension capability of the K1 Tank series so the vehicle can either kneel forward or backwards in order to fire up or down hills.

The K2 employees a 1500hp engine, providing improvements in power-to-weight ratio, hill climbing and acceleration compared to the K1 and K1A1.

The powerpack (engine and transmission) have caused delays in the development and production of the K2. The original requirement for using domestic technologies has mean’t the development of a South Korean powerpack. The K1 and K1A1 use licence built German MTU diesels.

The first production batch (100 vehicles) of the K2 were fitted with MTU engines and an Renk automatic-transmission. It was announced in 2015, that the second production batch of vehicles will use a domestic Doosan DST 1500 hp engine and an S&T Dynamics automatic transmission.

Variants and Marks


Batch One –

The first batch of 100 tanks used a modified MT883 1500hp diesel engine with a RENK HSWL 295 transmission, which has x5 forward and reverse gears. It is the same as the one used on the Leclerc and Altay tanks.

Batch Two –

The second batch of 100 tanks started in 2019 and retained the MT883 diesel engine, but featured a Hyundai DV27K transmission, which sped up production of the vehicle.

Batch Three –

Production started in 2022 of 54 tanks. Both the gunners and commanders sights feature an improved resolution, an improved battlefield management system with the Korea Variable Message Format (KVMF) and replacement of the Hyundai DV27K transmission with the SNT Dynamics EST15K (6 forward, 3 reverse gears). This batch was completed in 2023.

Future planned batches will be focusing on production of K2 for the Polish Army until licenced production begins in Poland.

Polish K2PL

This model will be built under licence in Poland. It will feature armour improvements and Trophy “Hard Kill” Active Protection System.

Turkish Altay

Turkey secured an exchange of technology from the K2, which has been used in the development of the new tank and shares a number of components.


Republic of Korea

A total of 254 tanks manufactured for the ROKA, but 10 were sent to Poland. Future orders for additional tanks are expected to be placed after production on vehicles for Poland are completed.


An order for 180 K2 tanks was placed in 2022, with the first delivery of 10 vehicles completed in December of that year. Orders are expected to be completed in 2025 and will replace PT-91 Twardy and T-72

In the same year an agreement was signed between Polska Grupa Zbrojeniowa (PGZ SA) and Hyundai Rotem to develop a new manufacturing facility in Poland to develop and produce the K2PL as well as other military vehicles for the European market.


In 2007, Turkey signed an agreement for an exchange of technology from the K2 project to be implemented in their own Altay Main Battle Tank. This included the use of the same Korean engine and other parts.

Norway (failed bid)

Norway has operated out dated models of the Leopard 2 for some years and in 2020 the K2 was offered as a replacement for older Leopard 2. In 2023 Norway selected the latest version of KMW’s Leopard 2.


Main Gun
120mm Smoothbore (L55)
Secondary Weapons
Coaxial 7.62mm Machine Gun, commanders 50 cal machine gun
Ammunition Storage
x40 120mm, x8,800 7.62mm, x1,000 .50
1500hp Diesel (MTU & Domestic
Automatic-transmission (5 forward/ 3 reverse gears)
Top Road Speed
70 km/h
Road Range
450+ km
Fuel Capacity
? Litres
Vertical Obstacle
Water Capability
4.1m with snorkel kit
Trench Crossing
Side Slope
Length Gun Forward
Length Hull
3.6m (without ERA)
2.4m (roof top)
Ground Clearance
55 tonne combat
NBC Protected
Standard Armor(s) Type
Steel, Composite, Modular
Optional Add-on Armor(s) Type
Explosive Reactive Armour (ERA)
Active Protection Systems
Commander, Gunner, Driver