By Lee Tae-hoon
Seoul decided Monday to import an engine and transmission system from Germany for the production of the first 100 K2 Black Panther main battle tanks, a spokesman of the state-run arms procurement agency said.
“We have decided to delay our plan to use a homegrown powerpack due to problems identified over its reliability and durability,” Baek Yoon-hyung, spokesman for the Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA) said. “We have concluded that it will be difficult to fix the problems in time for the planned deployment.”
DAPA had postponed the first deployment of the locally developed K2 tanks to December 2013 in an attempt to give domestic manufacturers a chance to succeed in making a power pack comprised of a 1,500-horsepower, 12-cylinder diesel engine and transmission.
Baek noted that the military will buy a domestically-built engine and transmission system for new orders if it manages to pass tests in August this year.
He added that the deployment of K2 tanks will be further delayed for three months to March 2014 to ensure the quality of the German powerpack.
Unveiled in 2007, the K2 is a major defense product for domestic needs and overseas sales. The K2 technology has already been exported to Turkey.
The K2 carries a three-person crew supported by an auto-loading system and a locally-developed 120-millimeter/55-caliber stabilized smoothbore gun. The fully-digitalized vehicle has an electric gun/turret driving system, automatic sensor input, and power monitoring and control system.