TechNorth Korea's new powerhouse: Unveiling the M2020 Tank

North Korea's new powerhouse: Unveiling the M2020 Tank

M2020 tanks
M2020 tanks
Images source: ©

1:43 PM EDT, March 16, 2024

During the military exercises that concluded on March 14, North Korea unveiled its latest tank. Kim Jong Un was present at the event and hailed the tank as "one of the most powerful tanks in the world." Here, we delve into the M2020's capabilities.

Pyongyang, a long-time ally of Russia, showcased various machines during the event, including the main battle tank, Chonma-216 and the light MD 500 helicopters. Yet, the standout was the somewhat enigmatic machine that the North Korean leader has proclaimed "one of the most powerful tanks in the world", even though its full capabilities remain somewhat of a mystery.

The tank's official name remains undisclosed. Unofficially, it has been referred to as M2020 since it was first presented as a prototype during a parade in 2020.
Visually, the M2020 tank represents a blend of the Russian T-14 Armata and the American M1 Abrams, according to the Militarny website. It is likely that the similarities with its foreign counterparts extend beyond aesthetics into offensive and defensive capabilities.
Experts have observed that photographs of the M2020 strongly recall Russian designs showcased during Moscow parades in 2019 and 2020. This has led to speculation that Pyongyang may have been heavily inspired by or even replicated certain aspects of tank designs from the Russian Federation.

The parallels with the American Abrams tank appear to be more focused on the vehicle's interior layout. Armoured vehicle researcher Andrii Tarasenko, cited by the Military website, points out that the M2020's crew comprises four individuals. Their arrangement within the tank is believed to mirror the setup found in the Abrams.

Tank M2020
Tank M2020©

Tarasenko further notes that the primary weapon of the North Korean tank is a 125 mm smoothbore gun. Additionally, the tank is equipped with a 30 mm automatic grenade launcher for engaging enemy units. As for defensive capabilities, the M2020 is outfitted with both active and passive defence systems.

The design features reactive armour blocks, anti-HEAT grilles protecting the engine compartment and rear turret section, pairs of laser sensors, and four radars. This configuration aims to safeguard the crew from gunfire, including guided anti-tank missiles.

One detail highlighting North Korea's inspiration from Russian weaponry is the placement of radars on the M2020, which mirrors the older Songun-915 (Pokpung-ho) model—a reproduction of the Russian T-62 tank.
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