K2 main battle tank from Hyundai Rotem in the spotlight at BSDA exhibition in Bucharest

By Lukasz Prus (Defence Industry Europe)

At this year's Black Sea Defence and Aerospace (BSDA) exhibition in Bucharest, South Korean company Hyundai Rotem displayed its combat-proven K2 Black Panther main battle tank. This is the company’s proposal for the Romanian land forces, but Hyundai Rotem’s approach to Romania includes deep industrial cooperation as well.

 

“We are open to the cooperation with the Romanian defence industry. In addition to the delivery of tanks that meet the demands of the modern battlefield, as Romania requires industrial cooperation for MBT production, we could involve Romanian companies in the K2 tank programme, which will benefit the Romanian economy,” Euiseong Lee, Head of Strategy for Global Market of Hyundai Rotem, told Defence Industry Europe during the BSDA exhibition.

A few days before the defence exhibition in Bucharest, a demonstration of the K2 tank took place at one of the Romanian land forces’ ranges. The tests included manoeuvrability and firepower demonstrations of the K2.

“The demonstration at the training ground proved that the K2 tank meets the requirements of modern armed forces. It is a suitable vehicle for the conditions on NATO’s eastern flank. We are ready for a strategic partnership with the Romanian Ministry of National Defence,” said Lee.

 

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The Romanian Ministry of Defence is preparing to launch a procurement process for new main battle tanks, although a tender has not yet been formally initiated. Bucharest might decide to purchase over 300 tanks in total to replace the outdated TR-85 and T-55 vehicles, which are no longer able to effectively carry out tasks on NATO’s eastern flank.

“So far, Poland has signed a contract for 180 K2 tanks, and this contract is being fulfilled on schedule. Additionally, we are proposing the localisation of K2PL tank production in Poland. The framework agreement we signed with Poland in 2022 covers a total of 1,000 tanks. We are ready to transfer the technology for modern tank production to Poland and are open to any form of cooperation with the Polish industry,” said Lee.

He added that if Romania also decides to purchase the K2 tank, it will create an opportunity for synergy in industrial cooperation between South Korea, Romania, and Poland. In such a situation, Hyundai Rotem will need to significantly increase its presence in these countries to secure the service and maintenance of K2 tanks on NATO’s eastern flank.

“Poland and Romania are currently our priorities. Hyundai Rotem is determined to contribute to the development of these countries’ defence capabilities and make a significant contribution to the development of their technological base,” emphasised Lee.

 

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