In response to the destruction of the inter-Korean liaison office on June 16, 2020 and the increasing number of threats from the North Korean government, South Korea has reportedly increased the number of armored units near the Korean Demilitarized Zone. The move simply adds to already high tensions along the highly militarized 250 kilometer border that separates a liberal and free society from a cold and authoritarian one.
In the immediate aftermath of the Korean War, the North retained an economic and technological edge over its arch-rival to the south. This success translated into military superiority, and as such, the South relied upon the support of a muli-national coalition for security and stability. This is no longer the situation. Today, the Republic of Korea (ROK) Army is fully capable of dominating any ground threat the North has to offer, while the ROK Air Force easily maintains air superiority.
Although the exact assets deployed by the South remains unknown, The Intelligence Ledger has been able to confirm the presence of the K2 Black Panther, a domestically produced main battle tank (MBT), near the DMZ. With a 120MM L/55 smoothbore gun, the Black Panther is more than capable of dishing out severe punishment to whoever finds themself on the wrong side of the barrel. The 120MM gun reportedly fires at a rate of 10 rounds per minute, although this number has never been confirmed by South Korea's Ministry of National Defense.
Equipped with an auto target detection/tracking system, hunter killer function, and thermal imager, the K2 is more than able to successfully engage a hostile force with superior numbers. Most importantly, especially when taking the North's capabilities into account, is the tank's nuclear, biological and chemical (NBC) protection system. For conventional threats, the Explosive Reactive Armor (ERA) and Composite Armor ensure that the three man crew can continue to bring the fight to an enemy even as fire rains down from above.
The South Korean army and marine corps are maintain a force of 480 K1A2 MBTs, older, yet equally deadly versions of the Black Panther. Equipped with a 120MM KM256 smoothbore gun, the 'old man', as it is affectionately known, is a force to be reckoned with.
The views expressed are those of the author and do not reflect the official policy or position of the United States Army, Department of Defense, or the United States Government.