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The Editor gets excited by the new Academy kit.

In 1995, the South Korean Agency for Defense Development was given the task of developing a modern armored fighting vehicle based upon state-of-the-art domestic technologies. It was intended for this development program to further modernize the Republic of Korea (R.O.K.) Army, despite the superior capability of their existing K1 and K1A1 MBTs against the existing aged fleet of North Korean tanks. Emphasis upon indigenous technologies would also allow the proposed vehicle to enter the export market without licensing difficulties. It was initially planned for the vehicle to be equipped with Rheinmetall’s experimental 140mm smoothbore gun, though this had to be abandoned when the German firm ceased development upon the rationale that the current 120mm/L55 would be more than adequate to counter prospective armoured threats for the foreseeable future. The K2 was subsequently reconfigured for the 120 mm/L55.

A K2 Black Panther on the range. (Republic of Korea Armed Forces)

The K2 design became production-ready in 2006, following eleven years in development and a research budget expenditure of approximately $230million, and entered production in March the following year. Things have not quite gone to plan however, It was originally envisaged that the K2 would feature a domesticallydesigned powerpack, based upon the German-designed MTU-890, comprising a Doosan Infracore Corporation 1,500 horsepower (1,100 kW) 12-cylinder diesel engine and a S&T Dynamics transmission. However, this encountered recurrent technical trouble in testing, leading to a delay in operational deployment of the K2 for a further two years. In March 2011, South Korea’s Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA) announced that mass production of the K2, which the Army was expecting to deploy in 2012, would not happen due to problems concerning its engine and transmission. In April 2012, DAPA announced that due to ongoing issues with the reliability and durability of the domesticallyproduced powerpack, the first 100 production K2s would use the German-made MTU powerpack and that service entry would be further delayed until March 2014.

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About Military Modelcraft International

MODERN ARMOUR SPECIAL Inside this issue we talk about modelling and reference on contemporary AFVs.