August 17, 2010 09:33
Intelligence authorities are analyzing footage of a new battle tank shown on North Korean state TV recently. So far the existence of the "Pokpung" (Storm) had only been a rumor.
A South Korean military source on Monday said the Pokpung appears to be an improved version of the North Korean Army's previous model "Chonma" (Flying Horse) in terms of firepower and maneuverability.
The Pokpung tank is also known as the M-2002, as it is presumed to have been rolled out in 2002.
Armed with a 125 mm or 115 mm gun, the Pokpung appears to be a drastically improved version of the former Soviet Union's T-62 tank, the latest issue of Defense Science & Technology Information, a magazine published by the Defense Ministry says.
It seems to be more heavily armed with a 14.5 mm KPV anti-aircraft machine gun, which is more powerful than the 12.7 mm machine gun mounted on older tanks. Also equipped with a laser range finder and an infrared searchlight, the tank is presumed to have a higher accuracy as it has a more modern fire control system than earlier models.
The magazine said that the Pokpung has been built at the Ryu Kyong-su Tank Factory since it was developed in the 1990s. How many of the tanks have been deployed warfare-ready is not known, but they are said to have been deployed only at an elite tank unit.
The North Korean Army has about 3,900 tanks, much more than the South Korean Army's 2,300, but they are believed to perform much more poorly.
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