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Future K2 tanks could run on homegrown transmission

K2 Black Panther main battle tank (Hyundai Rotem)
K2 Black Panther main battle tank (Hyundai Rotem)

The next batch of South Korea’s K2 Black Panther main battle tanks are expected to run on an locally-made transmission system instead of a German one, sources said Monday.

“We have solved technical issues of our transmission system and it will go inside the fourth batch of K2 tanks,” a high-ranking official at SNT Dynamics told The Korea Herald. “A government quality test is scheduled in the first half of next year”

Inside K2 tanks, there is a key component called a power pack, which is equivalent to a car’s engine. A power pack is made of an engine and transmission. Korea managed to localize the engine but failed to do so for the transmission.

SNT Dynamics was tasked with localizing the transmission but failed to pass the military’s quality tests, causing production delays. Eventually, the military in 2018 decided to adopt a “hybrid” power pack mixed with a locally-developed engine and German RENK transmission for the second batch of 106 K2 tanks.

The military last year attempted to localize the transmission once again for the third batch of 54 K2 tanks, but SNT Dynamics didn’t participate in the quality test, and as a result, it was decided to adopt the same hybrid power pack.

Should SNT Dynamics’ transmission pass the military’s quality test this time, it would be able to replace the German RENK transmission and pave the way for exporting the K2 tanks. The military is reportedly reviewing the fourth round of production of the K2 tanks.

By Kim Byung-wook (