Rotem (part of the Hyundai group) has developed the K1 series of vehicles, which includes the K1A1 120mm main battle tank, the K1105 mm main battle tank, K1 ARV armoured recovery vehicle, and the K1 AVLB armoured vehicle launch bridge. The vehicles are built at Rotem's automated production facility at ChangWon.
The first two prototypes of the K1A1 successfully completed operational tests in 1997 and the tank is in production and in service with Republic of Korea Army. Total requirement is for about 300 K1A1 tanks, scheduled to be in service by 2010.
Rotem is developing the successor to the K1A1, the K2 Panther, which is armed with a 120mm/L/55 smoothbore gun with automatic loader and has uprated engine and improved armour. Three pre-production tanks have been completed. It is planned that about 680 K2 tanks will be produced from 2011.
K1A1 main battle tank
The K1A1 is an upgraded version of the K1 MBT. Its firing range is enhanced by a 120mm M256 smoothbore gun, together with an improved gun and turret drive system. The M256 gun is also installed on the US M1A1/2 main battle tanks. A new ballistic computer for 120mm munitions has higher processing capacity and speed.
Samsung Electronics, now Samsung Thales, are providing the fire control system including the Korean Commander's Panoramic Sight (KCPS) which includes a thermal imager with 288x4 focal plane array, KGPS gunner's sight with thermal imager, eyesafe laser rangefinder and dual field of view day TV camera and KBCS ballistic fire control computer.
The race ring turret bearing provides improved sealing for fording and turret slewing characteristics. The fire suppression system has been equipped with a thermal wire fire sensor in the engine bay.
1/285th scale (6mm) pewter wargaming miniatures
Assembly and painting required
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GHQ is second to none in 1/285th scale models. Not having a lot of playing or storage space, I prefer this scale for table top gaming. The K1 is the ROKs first home grown MBT which entered service in mid 1990's. It's close resemblance to the American M1 MBT is no accident as it was developed directly off the XM1 project in the early 80's. The K1 is slowly being phased out by the K2.