South Korea will be able to complete second round production of its K-2 main battle tanks only by 2020, three years behind schedule due to problems in its transmission and engine, Yonhap news reported.
Quoting the state arms agency, The Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA), Yonhap said it initially sought a locally-made transmission and engine for the second round of mass production, in preference to the German-designed one used for the previous production run, which began in 2013.
But the indigenous transmission, produced by S&T Dynamics, failed in reliability and durability testing.
In a report to the National Assembly's defense committee for an annual audit, the DAPA said it is pushing for the supply of transmissions from a foreign contractor even as it plans to pick a domestically-produced engine .
"The second mass production and deployment will be completed between 2019-2020," if the plan is approved by a government defense industry committee slated to decide in January next year, added the DAPA.
The K-2 Black Panther is South Korea's new signature battle tank, and is designed to replace the aging K-1 battle tanks. It is one of the most advanced main battle tanks in the world. South Korea hopes to export the K-2, with each tank priced at around US$7.5 million.