SEOUL, Oct. 13 (Korea Bizwire) — South Korea plans to complete the mass production and deployment of additional K-2 main battle tanks by 2020, three years behind the original target date, due to technical setbacks, the state arms agency said Friday.
The Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA) initially sought the domestic supply of a powerpack, which comprises transmission and engine, for the second round of mass production, in preference to the German-designed one used for the previous production run, which began in 2013.
But the indigenous transmission, produced by S&T Dynamics, failed in reliability and durability testing.
In a report to the National Assembly’s defense committee for an annual audit, the DAPA said it is pushing for the supply of transmissions from a foreign contractor. It plans to pick a domestically-produced engine for the powerpack.
“The second mass production and deployment will be completed between 2019-2020″ if the plan is approved by a government defense industry committee slated to decide in January next year, added the DAPA.
The K-2 Black Panther is South Korea’s new signature battle tank, and is designed to replace the aging K-1 battle tanks. It is one of the most advanced main battle tanks in the world.
South Korea hopes to export the K-2, with one tank priced at around US$7.5 million.