South Korea to upgrade K1A2 main battle tank

The South Korean Defense Agency for Technology and Quality (DATQ) announced in March that it will conduct “advanced research” between June and October 2020 to determine how best to enhance the Republic of Korea Army’s (RoKA’s) K1A2 main battle tanks (MBTs) as part of an upgrade programme.

Among the upgrades the agency is looking into is the installment of a situational awareness system to allow the crew to better monitor the battlefield situation from inside the vehicle. In addition, a thermal periscope for the driver is expected to be installed.

The agency is also looking to increase the platform’s protection against anti-tank missiles by removing the existing armour and installing a new high-performance special armour. Moreover, the DATQ is considering equipping the tank with an active defence system capable of intercepting such missiles.

To improve manoeuverability, the tank’s existing hydro-pneumatic suspension will likely be replaced with an in-arm suspension unit (ISU) similar to that used by the RoKA’s K2 MBT. Moreover, an auxiliary generator will be installed, and the engine’s output is expected to be increased, although it is undecided as to whether this will happen by upgrading the existing engine or installing a more powerful one.

The crew’s protection against chemical, biological, and radiological (CBR) threats is set to be enhanced through a combined environmental control system that will moderate the temperature within the vehicle.

The DATQ is also examining the feasibility of a remote weapon station. If integrated into the commander’s sight, this would not only further enhance situational awareness but also provide the commander with the ability to engage some targets independently of the gunner.

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