South Korean Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA) announced Wednesday that the country aims to deploy 100 next generation K-2 Black Panther tanks by 2017.
The tanks will be fitted with indigenously produced engines and transmission systems.
"The K-2 battle tank will allow the military to have advanced combat vehicles with improved mobility and firepower fit for future environments," DAPA spokesperson Kim Si-cheol was quoted by Yonhap news agency as saying.
The tank's development was delayed due to its failure to meet the South Korean Defense Ministry's acceleration performance requirements. The deployment was possible after the standards were relaxed.
"We can overcome numerical inferiority compared to North Korea with this high-quality battle tank, and we expect the K-2 to be actively exported to foreign markets," the spokesperson added.
North Korea has almost two times more battle tanks at its disposal than its southern neighbor, Kim said, though pointing out that most of Pyongyang's war machines are outdated.
The K-2 tanks will replace the aging US-made M48 main battle tanks currently forming the backbone of the South Korean tank fleet.