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Recently, Sputnik news agency & radio published an article entitled "Can South Korea Become a World Tank Supplier? "The article. According to the article, South Korea has recently launched the latest second-grade kindergarten tanks and started to put them into service in large quantities. At the same time, South Korea has signed an arms sales contract with Poland for 180 second-grade kindergarten tanks, and Slovenia, Czech Republic, Romania and some countries in the Middle East have also expressed their intention to buy them, which is quite a feeling of being "scrambled as soon as they are put on the shelves". The article holds that Korean kindergarten grade two tanks, like a rising star in Ran Ran, are emerging on the global arms sales stage.

In fact, the K-2 tank is a third-generation main station tank with excellent overall performance, and the Russian media also acknowledged this. The Russian media article said that the second-grade kindergarten tank has advanced electronic equipment and automation systems, which enables it to achieve a high degree of informationization and automation, but the Russian media expressed doubts about the stability and reliability of these electronic systems. Russian media's evaluation of the second grade of kindergarten is not surprising. Russia emphasizes stability and durability in weapon design and manufacture, but due to the limitation of its electronic industry technology, the weapons and equipment produced in Russia are often relatively backward in informationization and electronic systems. For example, the T-90 currently equipped in Russia and its 125mm gun have good firepower, but its fire control system and information system are slightly behind the advanced level in the world.

Compared with Russian T-90, K-2 is superior in fire control system and electronic information system. At the same time, the German 1500 horsepower engine it is equipped with is more powerful than the T-90' s 1200 horsepower engine, and the two cars are basically the same in protection level. Finally, in terms of fire control system, although the main gun of Russian T-90 tank has a larger caliber, the second grade of Korean kindergarten is better in fire control system. At the same time, it is limited by the production capacity and material technology level of Russian military industry, and its ammunition level makes this 125 gun unable to play its due level. The technology of the second-grade tank main gun in kindergarten comes from Rheinmetall, and the 120 guns equipped with Leopard -2 belong to the same blood relatives. Coupled with the fire control system obtained from the United States, the K-2 tank is basically at the same level as the T-90 in firepower.

Compared with the main station tanks currently in service in China and the United States, K-2 has no obvious performance and technical advantages. In terms of power, our army's latest type 99 improved tank is also equipped with a 1500-horsepower engine, while the American M1A2 is directly equipped with a 1500-horsepower gas turbine, which is basically at the same level as the second grade of kindergarten. In terms of fire control, although K-2' s fire control system is claimed to be independently produced by South Korea, it actually originated from the United States, so the sighting and fire control system is basically the same as that of the United States M1A2, and there is not much difference between China's improved Type 99 and the United States M1A2 in sighting and fire control system.

In terms of firepower, because the second grade of kindergarten and M1A2 use NATO standard ammunition, the innate conditions of the 120mm fixed-charge ammunition determine that the core rod length of its shell-piercing projectile is longer and the armor-piercing performance is better. However, China's Type 99 tank main gun uses a larger 125mm anti-tank gun with stronger firepower. Therefore, on the whole, in the second grade of Firepower Kindergarten, it is at the same level as M1A2, and the firepower is slightly weaker than that of China's 99.

On the whole, K-2 tanks have no obvious advantages compared with Type 99 in China, T-90 in Russia, M1A2 in the United States and Leopard 2 in Germany, and even some performances are still at a disadvantage. At the same time, compared with these four tanks, although South Korea claims that domestic parts reach 90%, it actually relies heavily on imported technology. For example, the sighting and fire control systems are basically made in South Korea, but their technology is basically from the United States, and some of them are imitation products.

Although the 55-times-diameter 120 mm gun it is equipped with is also claimed to be independently developed by Korean enterprises, the technology of this gun actually comes from the Rhine metal 120 mm 55-times-diameter anti-tank gun equipped by Leopard 2, and the technology of its automatic loader comes from Israel.

Finally, there is the power part. Although South Korea claims that it will adopt the power package made by itself in the end, the K-2Z delivered at present is equipped with the MTU MT883 engine from Germany and the Renke HSWL 295 gearbox because the domestic gearbox cannot meet the design requirements. However, South Korea plans to replace the domestic DV27K engine and the German Lenk HSWL 295 gearbox in the second batch, and further replace the Korean power package of the domestic SNT EST15K gearbox in the third batch. However, due to the poor development of South Korea's SNT EST15K gearbox, the three batches of K-2 can only use South Korea's DV27K engine and Germany's Renke HSWL 295 gearbox.

Although the performance of South Korea's K-2 tank is not outstanding, this does not affect the interest of some countries in it. First of all, it is cheap. The total value of the arms sales contract signed with Poland is about 5.76 billion US dollars, including 180 K2 tanks and 212 K-9 self-propelled guns, which means that the unit price of K-2 is between 8 million and 9 million US dollars. In the arms sales contract signed between Poland and the United States in 2021, the total amount of 250 M1A2 SEP v3 main battle tanks reached 6 billion US dollars, and the unit price was about 24 million US dollars. That is to say, the price of this K-2 tank, which combines American fire control, German artillery and engines, and Israeli loader, is about half that of American M1A2 and German Leopard 2. In this way, South Korea's K-2 is very cost-effective.

At the same time, K-2, as a "tank compatible with NATO standards", has adopted NATO standards in its design and manufacture, and even used parts and technologies from some NATO countries, which means that it is very convenient for countries accustomed to using NATO equipment to buy K-2 tanks not only to get started quickly, but also to directly use ammunition and some parts in the logistics warehouse. In the foreign military trade, the South Korean team is not only cheap, but also has few restrictions, not restricting the introduction of production lines, not restricting the other party's external sales, and even South Korea has done preferential conditions for buying K-9 howitzers and sending them to Kia Motors' production lines. Finally, the purchase of K-2 from South Korea does not need to fulfill political affiliation conditions or bear political risks, so it is very tempting for small and medium-sized countries or neutral countries like Poland, Slovenia, Czech Republic and Romania.

On the whole, although South Korea's K-2 tanks are very competitive in the international market, in fact, K-2 customers are small and medium-sized countries that don't want to take sides in politics and want to spend a little money to do big things, but their market share is not small. It can be predicted that the future K-2 tank is very likely to become a dark horse in the international arms sales market like the K-9 howitzer. At the same time, although South Korea also claims that K-2 is self-produced, its technology and some parts still need to be imported, which leads to its reputation of assembling goods. Therefore, it is not known whether K-2 tank can become a star in the international military trade market from this aspect.

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