South Korea unveils upgraded K1E2 tank

South Korea unveils upgraded K1E2 tank

The Republic of Korea Army has unveiled the latest iteration of its K1 main battle tank, revealing the upgraded K1E2 configuration.

The K1E2 variant boasts several key improvements, including an enhanced gunner’s sight system akin to that of the K2 Black Panther, upgraded NBC protection, air conditioning facilities, and an auxiliary power unit.

Notably, the new gunner sight offers superior resolution, third-generation thermal capabilities, and auto-tracking functionality, enhancing the tank’s combat effectiveness and situational awareness on the battlefield.

The K1E1 tank enhancement project, spanning an investment of 275 billion won ($206 million), aims to modernize the existing fleet of K1/K1E1 tanks in the South Korean military’s inventory. The entire upgrade program is scheduled to continue until 2038, transitioning all tanks to the K1E2 standard.

Key elements of the K1E1 tank enhancement (K1E2) include the replacement of the gunner’s sight with a state-of-the-art model, installation of an NBC protection system, integration of air conditioning units, and the addition of an auxiliary power unit (APU). These upgrades are designed to augment the tank’s combat capabilities, survivability, and operational efficiency.

Following rigorous testing of prototype models, the upgraded K1E1 tanks will be officially designated as K1E2, with the transition expected to commence in 2026 through a phased upgrade process. With 1,027 K1 variants currently in operation.

The K1 main battle tank has been a cornerstone of South Korea’s defense since its introduction in 1987.

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