Poland officially signs order for 180 K2 tanks from South Korea

According to information on the Twitter account of the Polish Minister of Defense on August 26, 2022, Poland signs contracts with the South Korean defense industry for an amount of US$5.76 billion including the delivery of 180 K2 Main Battle Tanks (MBTs) with a delivery from 2022 to 2025.
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Scale model of K2PL main battle tank displayed at MSPO defense exhibition in Poland, September 2021. (Picture source Army Recognition)

On July 27, 2022, the Army Recognition editorial team reported that Poland could order from South Korea 980 K2 Main Battle Tanks, 648 K9 155mm tracked self-propelled howitzers, and 48 FA-50 fighter aircraft.

For several years, the South Korean company Hyundai Rotem offers a tailored version of its K2 Black Panther main battle tank (MBT) designed to the needs and requirements of the Polish armed forces under the name of K2PL.

The Polish government has launched a modernization of its armed forces called "Wolf" with the goal to replace its fleet of Soviet-made T-72 and local-made PT-91 Twardy main battle tanks. Following the war in Ukraine, Poland donated 270 T-72 tanks to Ukraine.

Before the war in Ukraine, the Polish army had a total of 808 MBTS including 137 Leopard 2A4 (being upgraded to 2PL), 105 Leopard 2A5, 5 Leopard 2PL (in test), 232 PT-91 Twardy, and 329 T-72A/T-72M1.

The K2PL is based on the design of the original South Korean K2 Black Panther with the driver's compartment at the front, the fighting compartment in the center, and the engine and transmission at the rear. The K2Pl includes several improvements including a new armor package around the turret as well as on the side of the hull. To increase the protection of the tank against RPG (Rocket Propelled Grenades) threats, the rear side of the hull is also fitted with a wire cage armor. The roof of the turret is also equipped with an APS (Active Protection System) designed to counter antitank guided missiles (ATGM), but not high velocity, high explosive (HE), or kinetic energy (KE) tank-fired munitions.

The K2PL seems to keep the same armament as the South Korean K2 which consists of a 120-mm/ L55 smoothbore gun coupled to an automatic loader with 16 rounds ready to fire and 24 rounds stored inside the hull. The use of the automatic loading system makes it possible to reduce the crew to 3 men.

The second armament of the K2 PL includes one 7.62 mm coaxial machine gun mounted to the left side of the main armament and one remotely operated weapon station armed mounted on the turret roof armed with one 12.7mm machine gun.

The K2PL is 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 run at a maximum speed of 70 km/h with a maximum cruising range of 450 km.