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Hyundai Rotem presents Nex-Gen K3 Main Battle Tank at Eurosatory 2024.

At Eurosatory 2024, Hyundai Rotem, a key player in South Korea's defense industry, is showcasing its latest innovation in armored warfare: the Next Generation Main Battle Tank (NG-MBT), which some observers have already nicknamed the K3. This new tank represents an important step in response to evolving combat scenarios and the South Korean military's demand for improved tactical capabilities.

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Hyundai Rotem Next-Generation K3 Main Battle Tank (Picture source: Army Recognition)

The NG-MBT follows a traditional layout with a driver's compartment at the front, a centrally located turret, and a rear-mounted powertrain. What sets it apart is its innovative crew configuration: a three-member crew, including the driver, commander, and gunner, all housed in an armored capsule located in the forward hull. This design aims to enhance crew protection by isolating them from potential threats posed by autoloaders and ammunition storage.

At the heart of its firepower is an unmanned turret armed with a remotely controlled 130mm smoothbore cannon, capable of engaging targets up to 5km away. The tank is also equipped with multi-purpose anti-tank guided missiles (ATGM) with a range of 8 km, including advanced modes for line-of-sight and beyond-line-of-sight engagements. These capabilities are complemented by a remote-controlled weapons station on the turret, accommodating weapons ranging from 12.7 to 30mm.

Defensively, the NG-MBT is equipped with a suite of advanced technologies, including a Directional Infrared Countermeasures (DIRCM) system to thwart heat-seeking missiles, an Active Protection System (APS), and a drone jamming device. Its low-profile design and reduced radar and infrared signatures make it exceptionally difficult to detect on the battlefield, reminiscent of the Polish PL-01 tank.

Armor protection is paramount, with a modular system comprising steel, ceramic and composite materials. This includes very high hardness armor plates, oxide-free ceramics, and reactive armor modules capable of withstanding large caliber kinetic and chemical energy projectiles. The tank meets STANAG 4569 Level 4a/4b standards for mine protection and is further enhanced with stealth technologies, including RF and infrared camouflage based on metamaterials.

On the mobility side, the NG-MBT is powered by a Diesel engine, offering a top speed of 70 km/h on the road and 50 km/h off-road. Its rubber tracks reduce noise emissions, contributing to its stealth tactical capabilities. With a combat weight of less than 55 tonnes and dimensions optimized for agility (less than 10.8m long, 3.6m wide, and 2.4m high), the tank offers an impressive operational range ranging up to 500 km.

Technologically advanced, the NG-MBT integrates AI algorithms for complete situational awareness, a combined manned and unmanned system, and a CSISR (Command, Control, Communication, Computer, Cyber ​​​​​​​​​Information suite, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance) robust with high-speed satellite communications and connectivity capabilities.

Hyundai Rotem's NG-MBT represents a formidable addition to the modern battlefield, integrating cutting-edge technologies with enhanced protection, firepower, and mobility to meet the rigorous demands of 21st-century warfare. As it debuts at Eurosatory 2024, it is poised to set new benchmarks for armored combat systems on a global scale.

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