This time we are talking about a contract worth $7 billion, which will include 580 (!) South Korean K2 Black Panther main battle tanks and 48 KAI T-50 Golden Eagle trainer jets in the FA-50 version, that is, light support aircraft that are used for strike and reconnaissance missions.
In addition, the Korean media reports on the possible interest of the Polish Ministry of Defense in the K21/AS21 Redback BMP, the K9 self-propelled guns, and the latest KM-SAM Block 2 air defense systems. In this case, the value of the deal may exceed $10 billion.
As a reminder, we wrote about Poland’s intention to increase the army to 400,000 soldiers and, among other things, purchase 500 HIMARS MLRS, 32 F-35 fighters, 250 M1A2 SEPv3 tanks, 8 Patriot batteries and about 500 new main battle tanks. It looks like the K2 Black Panther is the “500 new main battle tanks”.
The K2 Black Panther main battle tank has been produced in the factories of Hyundai Rotem, which specializes in high-speed trains, trams, subway trains, and military equipment, since 2008. In early 2022, there were rumors that the K2 would cease production after the contract with the South Korean Ministry of Defense expires in 2023. But interest in heavy military equipment has grown again, and Hyundai Rotem is currently in talks with Norway, Egypt, and Poland to supply the K2. In the latter case, we are talking about the localization of production with the transfer of most of it to Poland, this is how our neighbors try to negotiate all military agreements. Such tanks will receive the index K2PL.
K2 Black Panther Specifications
Weight – 55 tons
Length – 10.8 m
Width – 3.6 m
Height – 2.4 m
Crew – 3 (commander, gunner, and driver)
Armor – POSCO MIL-12560H armor steel and other classified plate; ERA and NERA modular add-on armour; soft-kill and hard-kill anti-missile defense systems
Main armament – Hyundai WIA CN08 120 mm 55 caliber smoothbore gun
Ammunition – 40 rounds
Secondary armament – 12.7 mm (.50 BMG) K6 heavy machine gun (3,200 rounds); 7.62 mm coaxial machine gun (12,000 rounds)
Engine – 12-cylinder water-cooled diesel MT-883 Ka-501 or Hyundai Doosan Infracore DV27K
Power – 1500 hp. (1103 kW)
Operational range – 450 km
Maximum speed – 70 km/h (highway), 50 km/h (ground)
The KAI T-50 Golden Eagle supersonic combat training aircraft is a joint project of the Korea Aerospace Corporation (KAI) and Lockheed Martin. The aircraft made its first flight in 2002 and is currently in service with South Korea, Indonesia, Iraq, Thailand, and Colombia. The FA-50 version is a light fighter/attack aircraft based on the T-50 that was introduced in 2011. FA-50 aircraft are compatible with almost the entire range of bombs and missiles of NATO countries.
Technical characteristics of KAI FA-50 Golden Eagle
Crew – 2
Length – 13.1 m
Height – 4.94 m
Wingspan – 9.45 m
Wing area – 23.69 m2
Empty weight – 6470 kg
Maximum take-off weight – 12,300 kg
Fuel capacity – 2690 kg
Powerplant – 1 × General Electric F404 turbofan engine
Thrust – 53.07 kN thrust dry, 78.7 kN with afterburner
Maximum speed – 1,837.5 km/h at an altitude of 9,144 m (Mach 1.5)
Range – 1,851 km
Service ceiling – 14,630 m
g limits – +8 -3 g
Rate of climb – 198 m/s
Armament: General Dynamics A-50 3-barrel rotary cannon (205 rounds)
Hardpoints: total of 7 (4 underwing 2 wingtip and one under fuselage)
Maximum bomb and missile load – up to 3740 kg