Suth Korea’s defense company Hyundai Rotem announced on October 19 that the outfit had come up with the first batch of its K2 main battle tanks bound for Poland. Many dignitaries visited the roll-out event, including Polish Ambassador to South Korea Piotr Ostaszewski, and Major General Maciej Jablonski, Polish Army Inspector of the Land Forces. South Korean incumbent Yoon Suk-yeol administration has attempted to spearhead the county’s military exports upon the president’s inauguration in May. In June, Yoon had a summit with his Polish counterpart Andrzej Duda on the sidelines of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization gatherings.
Hyundai Rotem churned out 10 tanks at its factory in Changwon, some 300 kilometers southeast of Seoul. The remaining 170 tanks will be delivered over the next three years. The roll-out came two months after the company signed an arms deal of providing a total of 180 K2PL, a variant of its representative K2 Black Panther, by mid-decade. The tanks will be deployed after going through an on-site inspection of the Polish military. Affiliated with Hyundai Motor, one of the world’s largest automakers, Hyundai Rotem is the only manufacturer of tanks in South Korea.
The K2 Black Panther is a next-generation South Korean main battle tank designed by the Agency for Defense Development and manufactured by Hyundai Rotem. Developed as a modern replacement for most of the remaining M48 Patton tanks currently fielded by the South Korean military, the K2 Black Panther combines an auto-loaded 120 mm 55-caliber smoothbore gun, advanced composite armor, extremely high frequency pulse-doppler radar, along with soft and hard-kill active protection systems. Mass production commenced in 2013 and the first K2s were deployed with the armed forces in July 2014.
In January 2020 Poland announced negotiations with Hyundai Rotem for license production of the K2 Black Panther for the Polish Army. On 13 June 2022 Polish Ministry of Defence announced that it had signed a memorandum of understanding to purchase at least 180 K2 tanks for the Polish military. On 7 September 2022 PGZ and Hyundai Rotem signed a partnership agreement to develop and produce tanks, armored vehicles and ground unmanned systems. The contract includes joint cooperation in building production facilities in Poland for the production and maintenance of 1000 K2s and developing next-generation ground combat vehicles, including the K3.