SOURCE: TUSHKAR SHIRODKAR / FOR MY TAKE / IDRW.ORG
K2 Black Panther, the main battle tank of South Korea has been reportedly been offered to India under Make in India category to replace aging T-72 Main Battle Tanks. Under Future Ready Combat Vehicle (FRCV) requirements , Indian Army is scouting for next-generation Main Battle tanks which will be produced in India to replace around 2000 old T-72 MBTs.
FRCV specifications sought by the Indian army is yet to be out officially, but in the recent years, South Korea won a tender for supply of self-propelled 155 mm howitzer contract from Indian Army and supplied the first batch of its K9 VAJRA-T(Lightning) self-propelled 155 mm howitzer to Indian Army. South Korean K2 Black Panther main battle tanks are considered World most expensive Main Battle Tanks which has a price tag of 8.5 million dollars.
The K2 costs around $8.5 million per unit cost for comparison’s. Russia’s new T-14 Armata Russian tank costs $3.7 million, American made M1A2 Abrams costs $4.3 million and even India’s Arjun Tank per unit cost around is $7.8 million even with a limited production run of only 126 units. K2 suffers from limited production run due to which unit cost is still high. South Korean Army had an initial requirement of 680 tanks but orders were confined to only 390 units after it hit production in 2013.
K2 features a 120mm 55 caliber smoothbore gun capable of 40 rounds, secondary armaments include a 12.7mm K6 heavy machine gun with 3,200 rounds and 7.62mm coaxial machine gun with 12,000 rounds. K2 Black Panther has a Top speed of 70 kilometers per hour and can accelerate from zero to 32 kph in just seven seconds. Its operational range is 450 kilometers.
Turkey used the baseline K2 Black Panther technology inputs with a re-designed Turkish turret and Aselsan’s Volkan-III modular fire control system to develop a ” Altay ” MBT which is the service with the Turkish Army. Russian T-14 Armata, French Leclerc, Ukrainian Oplot next-generation Main Battle tanks are also on offer to Indian Army under FRCV Tender and it is likely that India’s State-run DRDO will also offer its own Design.
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