Hyundai Rotem Tanks Demonstrate Capability
By Jung Sung-ki
Hyundai Rotem, the nation's sole tank manufacturer, is making all-out efforts during the Seoul Air Show to promote overseas sales of its products.
In addition to business consultations at its booth and chalet at Seongnam Airport, Gyeonggi Province, the company has organized tours of its facilities and some Army units operating Hyundai Rotem vehicles to showcase their outstanding field capabilities to foreign VIPs.
On Oct. 20, the firm invited a group of foreign guests to a field unit in Gyeonggi Province and demonstrated live-fire and maneuvers of the K1A1 tank, a modified variant of the K1 tank, Yoon Min-jeong, a company spokeswoman, said.
The firm gave a briefing on the characteristics of the K1A1, which entered service in 2001, and the soon-to-be-deployed K2 Black Panther main battle tank, she said.
``The on-site tour program was designed to show more realistic and diverse capabilities of our vehicles to participants,'' Yoon said. ``We believe this will help buyers make a good decision in the future based on their real experiences.''
Saudi Arabian delegates showed their interest in the K1A1, which will be further upgraded by 2012, she said. Under the upgrade program, the K1A1 will have network-centric battlefield management systems that allow the vehicle to share its data with friendly units and other vehicles on a real-time basis.
Malaysian delegates, led by Defense Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Hamid, visited Hyundai Rotem's facility in Changwon, South Gyeongsang Province, Oct. 21 to look around Hyundai's state-of-the-art production line.
The Malaysian defense chief expressed keen interest in establishing a mid- to long-term partnership with Hyundai Rotem over the country's defense modernization program, Hyundai officials said.
Unveiled in 2007, the K2 is one of the most advanced main battle tanks in the world.
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.
Its 1,500-horsepower engine can power the tank to 70 kilometers per hour on paved roads and 50 kilometers off-road. It can cross rivers as deep as 4.1 meters, a considerable improvement over the K1 and K1A1, and fire as soon as it resurfaces.
Field trials began in July after fitting the vehicle with a domestically developed ``power pack'' comprised of a 1,500-horsepower, 12-cylinder diesel engine and transmission. Following more tests through next June, Hyundai Rotem will produce 390 units for the South Korean Army ― beginning in 2011 ― to replace K1 and aging M48 Patton tanks.
Powered by a turbocharged 1,200 horsepower, the K1A1 is armed with a 120-millimeter smoothbore gun. It has twice the penetration power of the previous 105-millimeter rifled gun, and is loaded manually.
It has an improved gun/turret drive system and a ballistic computer for 120-millimeter ammunition.
The tank is also fitted with a 7.62-millimeter coaxial machine gun, and two more machine guns are mounted on top of the turret roof.
In high gear, the K1A1 can attain a maximum road speed of about 65 kilometers per hour and travel 500 kilometers without refueling.