May 12, 2016 11:27
The government plans to produce 100 more state-of-the-art K-2 Black Panther tanks and station them along the border with North Korea, it emerged Wednesday.
The original plan was to build 200 K-2 tanks, but the military says it decided on the additional lot to counter North Korea's deployment of new tanks.
The K-2s are South Korea's next-generation main battle tanks and cost W8 billion apiece.
A military source said, "There is a need to bolster armored combat capabilities on the frontline as the North is deploying new tanks. Another factor in the decision is that defects in the K-2's power pack have now been fixed."
Military officials have been re-evaluating the armored threat after North Korea showcased newly developed tanks during military parades in 2012 and 2013.
North Korea has around 4,300 tanks to South Korea's 2,400, but before the North unveiled new tanks, the South believed that it could offset the numerical imbalance because the North's tanks were ancient Soviet models.
Critics have questioned the need to produce another 100 K-2 tanks and accuse the government of merely trying to give struggling arms manufacturers a shot in the arm.
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