Nammo to Manufacture Ammunition for the K2 MBT

Nammo to Manufacture Ammunition for the K2 MBT

According to a Nammo press release, the company recently signed an agreement with Hyundai Rotem Company (HRC) in the Republic of Korea (ROK) to develop 120 mm ammunition for the Korean company's K2 BLACK PANTHER Main Battle Tank (MBT). The agreement's initial value is $5 million, covering the integration, qualification, and development components. The agreement's value is expected to exceed $100 million if it is expanded to include the delivery of production ammunition to K2 users.

The initial focus of the new agreement with HRC will be on integrating existing Nammo ammunition types with the K2 MBT. The K2's 120 mm/L55 smoothbore gun is already compatible with NATO standard 120 mm 570 combustible-case ammunition, but to ensure safe and effective use in a 'new' gun, a series of qualification tests are required, such as developing ballistic data for the ammunition when fired from the K2's gun. Given that the K2 has an autoloader, the K2 must ensure physical compatibility between the Nammo ammunition and the autoloader and that the loading system can recognise the rounds, as the K2 autoloader uses a barcode printed on the ammunition to identify the munition type automatically.

In the long run, Nammo will collaborate with HRC to complete the development of a programmable fuse integrated with K2's fire control system (FCS). Combined with the existing Nammo high explosive (HE) ammunition, this could provide the ammunition with an air-burst capability, allowing the K2 to effectively defeat a wide range of battlefield targets in defilade, including infantry and light armoured vehicles. Last winter, the first successful test shot with the new programmable fuse was conducted at a test range in Norway.

The Norwegian Defence Minister announced plans to field a new Norwegian MBT beginning in 2025 in November 2020. Norway has used the German LEOPARD 2A4NO MBT since 2003, but further upgrades to these vehicles were deemed uneconomical. Following an initial down-selection, the LEOPARD 2A7 and the K2 are the current candidates for the new Norwegian MBT. Initial discussions in this regard between the governments of Norway, Germany, and the ROK focused on defence cooperation, among other things, but it is unclear whether the current agreement between Nammo and HRC is a result of this.