|Hyundai Rotem's K2 Black Panther tank equipped with "power pack" successfully conducts 3,200 kilometers driving and ignition tests below 32 degrees Celsius in this Feb. 20, 2019 photo. Courtesy of Defense Acquisition Program Administration|
By Kim Hyun-bin
Hyundai Rotem was aiming to strike a $9 billion tank development deal with the Polish government. If the deal actually happens, it would mark the first time for the company to export its integrated defense technology overseas.
Hyundai Rotem is planning to partner with the Polish government to develop and produce 800 K2 Black Panther class tanks. The monetary value of the possible deal was unknown.
There are other prestigious tank developers such as the U.S. M1 Abrams, Russia's T-90 and England's Challenger 2 that could be secured but Poland's fundamental principle is to develop homegrown weaponry which suggests Hyundai Rotem is as a strong contender in the race.
"The official project bidding is expected to be announced in the first half of this year and we definitely will take part in the process. The total project is said to be divided into two stages to produce a total of 800 tanks," a Hyundai Rotem official said.
Hyundai Rotem officials met with Polish officials several times to explain the specifics of the qualifications and functions of the K2 Black Panther. In 2008, the South Korean company won a bid to sell K2 tanks to the Turkish government beating Germany, one of the world's leading tank manufacturers.
Earlier reports were that the Polish government partnered with Hyundai Rotem to produce next generation tanks scheduled to be stationed starting 2023. Poland also inked a deal with Hanwha Defense in 2016 to export 120 K-9 self-propelled howitzers, for which its performance was highly spoken of in the local region.
The K2 Black Panther finished development in 2008 and has been used by the Korean Army as its next generation tank since 2014. The K2s are capable of firing 120mm rounds while cruising at up to 70 kilometers an hour.