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Romania intends to buy more tanks. Will the K2 Black Panther conquer another European country?

By Defence Industry Europe

Romanian media, citing government sources, have reported that Bucharest is considering acquiring approximately 300 additional main battle tanks, in addition to the previously approved purchase of 54 M1A2 SEPv3 Abrams. Among the potential bidders for this contract is the South Korean company Hyundai Rotem, offering its K2 Black Panther tank.

On July 26, the Romanian website, Defense Romania, referred to government sources and announced that Bucharest is planning to acquire around 300 more tanks, beyond the previously approved 54 M1A2SEPv3 Abrams tanks and their accompanying vehicles.

Defense Romania reported that during the Republic of Korea – Romania 2023 Defence Industry Cooperation Conference, which took place on July 6,General Teodor Incicas, the head of the Romanian Ministry of National Defence’s Main Armament Directorate, discussed future equipment acquisitions during an expert panel.

We want to purchase new tanks, approximately 300 main battle tanks, but the procurement schedule will have to be determined by the contractor, said the Romanian general.

 

 

During the conference, Eui Seong-Lee, Vice President of International Defence Business at Hyundai Rotem, provided an exclusive interview to Defense Romania, expressing the company’s intention to offer K2 Black Panther tanks to the Romanian authorities. He offered broad cooperation with the Romanian defence industry, including technology transfer to local component manufacturing facilities.

“We have been developing an indigenous South Korean battle tank for the past 30 years. And we are confident that we can contribute to Romania’s defence and cooperation with the Romanian defence industry. This is the objective. We have been working hard to convince Polish partners that K2 tanks are the best option for them. Fortunately we signed a contract last year and have already delivered 28 K2 tanks to Poland. We hope we can expand our business and are keen to deliver K2 tanks to Romania as well,” stated Eui Seong-Lee.

He further added, “Hyundai Rotem wants to cooperate with the Romanian defence industry. The options are open, we can work together in terms of production, starting with assembly and later we can also transfer technology to the Romanian defence industry. The Romanian industry could produce components. Romania has great potential and together we can achieve our goals.”

Currently, the Romanian Land Forces (Forţele Terestre Române) have 202 tanks in service, including 44 TR-580, 104 TR-85, and 54 TR-85M1 Bison tanks. With stored vehicles, the total number exceeds 300. These are locally developed designs through deep modernization based on Soviet T-55AM/T-55AM2 tanks. Thus, this segment of the Romanian armed forces is outdated in terms of meeting the requirements of modern warfare.

 

 

If the Bucharest government agrees to acquire K2 tanks, it would follow a similar path as Poland, which purchased both American and South Korean tanks. Additionally, Hanwha Aerospace offers Romania the sale of 90 K9 Thunder 155mm self-propelled howitzers, which Poland has also purchased.

It is worth noting that the South Korean defence industry sees Romania as a potential partner for broader entry into the European market. On February 6 and 8, Hanwha Aerospace and LIG Nex1 signed Memorandums of Understanding (MoU) with Romania’s Ministry of Economy and the state-owned company Compania Nationala Romarm regarding the possibility of producing weaponry and ammunition in Romania.

 

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