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Companion; great find! Finally something new from North Korea...

 

This tank could be:

 

1) An updated Ch'onma-ho III (M1992).

 

2) Our first look at the P'okpoong-ho (T-72-based tank).

 

3) Or something completely new.

 

 

We know that there is an upgunned Ch'onma-ho out there somewhere (based on official US and South Korean reports (including the 1998 and 1999 South Korean National Defense White Papers). This new photo, however, appears to show a tank fitted with the 115mm main gun...maybe it's a 125mm? It does appear to be fitted with new optics including what could be a combined LRF/thermal sight mounted above the main gun...although it also looks like the primary searchlight is still fitted.

 

This could also be a North Korean attempt to briefly show the world that they to have a "modern" tank fited with the upgrades based on lessons learned in Iraq and Afghanistan. Things like thicker (perhaps reactive armor) hull skirting fitted at the sides of the driver's compartment. Could that "searchlight" actually be an ammo can for an unseen heavy machinegun?

 

The tank also looks like it has a welded slab-sided, Chinese-inspired turret and a hull long enough to include six road wheels.

 

Just to sum up...while there are reports that the Ch'onma-ho series includes as many as 7 different variants, here are the variants that seem to have the most credibility:

 

Ch'onma-ho I (slightly modified T-62A)

 

Ch'onma-ho II (upgrade incorporating an externally mounted LRF)

 

Ch'onma-ho III/M1992 (first seen in the 1992 Pyongyang parade - there are a handfull of poor quality photos of this variant floating around)

 

Ch'onma-ho IV/V (upgraded variant fitted with the "larger Gun;" reportedly the 125mm from the T-72)

 

Finally, in addition to unconfirmed reports that the North Koreans acquired a small number of Russian T-72s (date unknown), and a single T-90S in August 2001, reports of a new North Korean tank began to appear in 2002. These reports probably were referring to what we now know as the P'okpoong-ho.

 

By null at 2010-04-08

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OT...

 

I must admit that I cannot take the name P'okpoong-ho seriously. Over here, a "pok pok" is a derogatory word basically meaning "slut" (or sex addict). Add the "-ho" in the end of the name, and the word "poong" reminding me of Thais (and their sex industry), well, you get the picture....

 

 

BTT!

Edited by TomasCTT
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...2) Our first look at the P'okpoong-ho (T-72-based tank)...

 

Glacis looks like 60deg T-54/55/62 style glacis with add-on armor.

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Why do the NKs even bother to waste monney and resources on "developing" and building crap like this?? I mean, the North Koreans surely live in a paralell universe, but at least some of their higher army staff and intel personel must know that these home brewed death traps wont stand a chance against SOKOR and US K1 and M1. Let alone K2s..

Why not try and buy off the shelf instead? Preferably some Type-90s or Type-96s from China. But even second hand T-72s from Belurussian or Ukrainian etc stock would probbably be better. A matter of national Yuche prestige maybe? :blink:

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Why do the NKs even bother to waste monney and resources on "developing" and building crap like this?? I mean, the North Koreans surely live in a paralell universe, but at least some of their higher army staff and intel personel must know that these home brewed death traps wont stand a chance against SOKOR and US K1 and M1. Let alone K2s..

Why not try and buy off the shelf instead? Preferably some Type-90s or Type-96s from China. But even second hand T-72s from Belurussian or Ukrainian etc stock would probbably be better. A matter of national Yuche prestige maybe? :blink:

 

Or fear of pipeline being shut down... Even the China is nowadays much colder to them, after all having nuclear rabid dog in the backyard is even against their interests...

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Why do the NKs even bother to waste monney and resources on "developing" and building crap like this??

 

Well for a start South Korea tank fleet still includes several hundreds of M48s (with no armor upgrade) and probably few or none K2 as of yet.

So a warmed up T-62 may have on paper a chance against at least the low end of the opposite tank fleet.

Second, it is not like they are unwilling to buy foreign military hardware (they have done so every time they could afford it), it is just that the hard currency necessary to buy a meaningful number of even second hand T-72s is just flat out not available. What little is there is used for more important needs, say machine tools to make better missiles or the Dear Leader's caviar (BTW these are two real examples, if my memory isn't playing tricks) or other pressing civilian/military needs which cannot be just ignored for physical or political survival reasons.

So these tanks are simply the best the can afford in numbers and chances are they have been produced in small numbers anyway.

I am not sure of how I can convey in a short space how poor, backward and dilapidated North Korea actually is.

Edited by Marcello
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Time will tell if we have learned anything from the collapse of the Soviet Union - how it came through hypermilitarization, and how to manage the actual collapse with free-floating, unemployed missile, bio-, chemical-, and nuclear weapon specialists. But I guess we'll do it like last time - expose all scientists to the free market and then bomb the shit out of whoever may give them new employment after a few years of fruitless debating in the UN about a secret weapons development program in some backwater that may or may not have signed the NPT.

 

Am currently reading "The Dead Hand" - may contribute to a dispirited mood.

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Am currently reading "The Dead Hand" - may contribute to a dispirited mood.

 

Must. Get. That. Book.

 

Thanks for mentioning it. :) I'll add it to my wish list of books.

Edited by TomasCTT
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Time will tell if we have learned anything from the collapse of the Soviet Union - how it came through hypermilitarization, and how to manage the actual collapse with free-floating, unemployed missile, bio-, chemical-, and nuclear weapon specialists. But I guess we'll do it like last time - expose all scientists to the free market and then bomb the shit out of whoever may give them new employment after a few years of fruitless debating in the UN about a secret weapons development program in some backwater that may or may not have signed the NPT.

 

Am currently reading "The Dead Hand" - may contribute to a dispirited mood.

 

The USSR had a huge technical and scientifical establishment engaged in cutting edge R&D and production.

North Korea equivalent is far smaller, busy reinventing (or trying to) wheels already invented several decades ago and already engaged in proliferation anyway.

Their modest stockpile of nuclear weapons and weapon grade uranium/plutonium would have to be secured ASAP and it may indeed be prudent to ensure that at least some of the key technical personnel get employed in non nefarious activities but aside from that the biggest problem is social and economic.

As things stand now a collapse of the north korean regime would be a catastrophe for South Korea.

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I have to wonder if the ERA blocks are even real, I wouldn't be surprised if they strapped soldiers to the turret to add extra protection. One truly bizzare country.

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I have to wonder if the ERA blocks are even real, I wouldn't be surprised if they strapped soldiers to the turret to add extra protection. One truly bizzare country.

 

I have always got this nagging feeling that those things ERA blocks may be something else, such as MG ammo boxes or similar. Why putting them on the turret side/rear instead of the turrret and hull front?

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...Why not try and buy off the shelf instead? Preferably some Type-90s or Type-96s from China. But even second hand T-72s from Belurussian or Ukrainian etc stock would probbably be better. A matter of national Yuche prestige maybe? :blink:

And lack of anything to pay for imports with.

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  • 1 month later...

What would that cylinder-like object be? (just to the left of the flagpole)

My friend who showed it to me speculated it might be a wind sensor but I find that highly doubtful.

Could well be a windsensor. It's as good a guess as any. BTW, why would you find it highly doubtful?
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Am currently reading "The Dead Hand"
That's part of your problem.

 

The Mote in God's Eye was a far-superior read. You're unhappy that the sequel to TMIGE isn't half the book that the original is.

 

Instantiating threadjack in 3...2...1...

 

 

Shot

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  • 2 weeks later...

So, what do we have here? Overall, this new tank looks like a hybrid design showing Russian, Chinese and even Romanian influences. While the relationship to the Chinese Type 85-II and the T-62-based Ch'onma (Ch'onma-ho III, M1992), is apparent, I think the Romanians had a hand in this as well. In some ways I'm surprised that the next North Korean tank doesn't look more like the Romanian T-72 copy, the TR-125 (time will tell). A couple of the images included in the Journal show the area on the glacis in front of the driver that resembles the Romanian TR-85M1 and TR-800 MBTs. Overall, the hull of the new tank looks a lot like one of those Romanian tank hulls. This new tank's add-on armor not only has a similar shape to the turret frontal armor of the Type 85-IIAP it also has a single lifting eye on the "face" that is very similar to the lifting eye arrangement of the Type 85-IIAP, AL Khalid, Type 88C, etc. This implies that the array can be removed and replaced if damaged, etc. In fact, the picture of tank #126 on page 9 of the Journal shows what could be a large (Israeli-looking) mounting bolt used to fasten the add-on armor array to the turret front. Although smaller and more numerous, the Type 85-IIAP and Type 88C use very similar visible bolts for the same purpose.

 

So, if these tanks are in fact the P'okpoong MBT, the early reports of a new North Korean tank based on the T-72 (at least externally), were way off the mark. Additionally, where is the still unseen "upgunned" Ch'onma variant that has been discussed by official sources and reported in various Defense White Papers over the years? These photos appear to show a tank that is still fitted with the 115mm main gun. IMO, these photos are of an upgraded Ch'onma III leaving the North Korean T-72-based tank still behind the curtain.

 

By null at 2010-06-06

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