Poland to acquire Korean K2 and German Leopard 2 tanks to replace T-72s donated to Ukraine

According to information published by the Polish newspaper website “The wPolityce“, Poland is in discussion with Germany and South Korea to replace its T-72 Main Battle Tanks (MBTs) donated to Ukraine with German Leopard 2 and South Korean K2 Black Panther tanks.

Citing information from “The wPolityce”, following the donation of its T-72 Main Battle Tanks (MBTs) to Ukraine coming from its military inventory, Poland needs to replace these tanks to avoid reducing its defense capabilities, especially in the face of the situation in Ukraine.

Poland has started negotiations with Germany to acquire second-hand Leopard 2 MBTs. At the same time, Poland is in talks with South Korea about the purchase of K2PL, a Polish version of the K2 Black Panther MBT designed and manufactured by the South Korean company Hyundai Rotem.

The Leopard 2 is a main battle tank that was developed by the German company Krauss-Maffei Wegmann (KMW) as the successor of the Leopard 1 which entered service with the German army in 1963. The latest version in the Leopard 2 tank family is the Leopard 2A7.

The main armament of the Leopard 2A7 is similar to the Leopard 2A6’s one that includes an L/55 120mm Rh 120 smoothbore gun, an MG3A1 7.62x51mm caliber coaxial machine gun, and a 7.62 mm MG3 machine gun mounted on the loader’s hatch located on the left side of the roof turret.

Recently, the German army received a new improved version of the Leopard 2 designated leopard 2A7V. On February 10, 2022, Global Defense Corp reported that the Leopard 2A7V offers the best protection in the world compared to the other modern tanks.

The K2PL is a version of the K2 Black Panther that was designed according to Polish army requirements and needs. A scale model of the K2PL was presented in September 2020 at MSPO, an international defense exhibition that was in the city of Kielce, Poland.

The main armament of the K2 Black Panther consists of a German-made Rheinmetall 120-mm/L55 smoothbore gun produced under license in South Korea. The gun is fitted with an automatic loader with 16 rounds ready to fire. 24 additional rounds are stored inside the hull. The second armament includes a 7.62 mm coaxial machine gun mounted on the left side of the main armament. A 12.7 mm K-6 heavy machine gun is mounted on the top right of the turret.

According to our first analysis of the scale model presented at MSPO 2020, the design of the K2PL includes a new armor package mounted around the turret as well as on the sides of the hull. The roof of the turret is fitted with a remotely operated weapon station armed with a 12.7mm machine gun. The main armament seems to be the same.

The K2PL will be powered by a 1,500 hp Diesel engine coupled to an automatic transmission with five forward and three reverse gears. The suspension of the K2PL consists of seven road wheels instead of six on the original K2. It can reach a maximum speed of 70 km/h with a maximum cruising range of 450 km.

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