The Korean Army’s Future Depends on Its Tanks
The Korean Army’s Future Depends on Its Tanks

The South Korean army, known as the ROK Armed Forces, is one of the world's largest standing armed forces. In 2020, 날짜계산기 it is estimated to have a strength of 3,305,000. It is the second-largest armed force by number of personnel after the US and Chinese militaries.

420,000 troops

The Korean army consists of 420,000 men and is equipped with 2,130 tanks, 3,000 armored fighting vehicles, six hundred artillery pieces, 60 guided missile systems, five hundred helicopters, and more. The army's main battle tank types include the Soviet T-80U and the M48 Patton series, as well as 1,511 K1A1 tanks. In the coming years, South Korea is expected to replace its existing tank fleet with the K2 Black Panther, a heavy armored vehicle equipped with a 1500 hp MTU engine and a 55-caliber 120 mm main gun.

In January, U.N. armored patrols reached the deserted city of Wonju. On 11 February, elements of the X Corps attacked the first phase line, despite light resistance. On the next day, the X Corps began Operation ROUNDUP, which called for disruption of North Korean forces south of Hongch'on. This was a difficult battle for the ROK units because of the difficult terrain. The X Corps was also under constant pressure from Chinese Communist forces, which had recently attacked the western side of Wonju.

Main battle tank types

The North Korean army has two main battle tank types. Both are armed with composite armor, and have similar protection to the M1 Abrams. They also have blow-out panels in their turret bustle, which store ammunition. These tanks also have anti-aircraft systems and have the ability to shoot incoming anti-tank guided missiles.

The K1 main battle tank was introduced in 1987. By the end of the year, several battalions had been equipped with them. The first production batch consisted of 210 vehicles, and the second batch had three hundred and twenty-five vehicles. The K1 MBT is built on a Korean indigenous chassis and is fully system-integrated by Hyundai Precision. The K1 is powered by a military diesel engine that is licensed from MTU of Germany. The K1 tank is also equipped with torsion bars.

North Korea was in need of new main battle tanks, and has developed 11 types in the past four decades. Most are an improved version of previous designs. As Pyongyang has only intermittent access to Western tank tech, North Korea is often at the rear of the development curve. However, this lack of modernized tank production does not mean that North Korea does not have adequate armor.

Future replacement for the K1 and K1 MBTs

The next generation K2 Main Battle Tank is the successor to the older K1 MBTs and will be equipped with the MTU 1500 hp Europowerpack engine and a 120 mm smoothbore main gun. This new tank will feature a new sensor system and armor comparable to the M1A2 Main Battle Tank. Its codename is XK2, and it was first sighted during an unveiling ceremony in Changwon, southeast of Seoul.

The current Type 88 K1 was upgraded to the K1E1 variant in 2004. The new tank is believed to be more powerful than its predecessor, the Type 88 K1. The Republic of Korea offers more than tanks, though.

Joint training between U.S. and South Korean forces

The United States and South Korea resumed joint training between their forces on Monday, the first major exercise in four years. The annual Ulchi Freedom Shield drill is aimed at boosting readiness for possible weapons tests from the North. The training will include joint attacks, front-line reinforcements, removing weapons of mass destruction, training for drone attacks, and joint military-civilian responses to attacks on major industrial facilities. But despite the new drills, the United States and South Korea have canceled several exercises over the years and reduced them to computer simulations.

The US and South Korean forces recently conducted their first live-fire drill since 2015. Commanders said the drill demonstrated the strength of the largest military alliance in the world. The drill was modeled on a counterattack against an invading force. Presidents of both countries pledged to increase military cooperation after a summit in May. Meanwhile, North Korea has conducted 18 missile tests this year, compared to four and eight missile tests in the previous two years.