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M2020 (M-2020)

Main Battle Tank (MBT)

North Korea | 2020

"Revealed to Western eyes in 2020, this new North Korean MBT has been loosely designated as the M-2020."

Power & Performance
Those special qualities that separate one land system design from another. Performance specifications presented assume optimal operating conditions for the M-2020 Main Battle Tank (MBT).
1 x Diesel-fueled turbocharged engine developing between 1,000 horsepower and 1,200 horsepower driving conventional track-and-wheel arrangement.
Installed Power
40 mph
65 kph
Road Speed
233 miles
375 km
The physical qualities of the M-2020 Main Battle Tank (MBT).
31.3 ft
9.55 meters
O/A Length
12.4 ft
3.78 meters
O/A Width
7.4 ft
2.25 meters
O/A Height
110,231 lb
50,000 kg | 55.1 tons
Armament & Ammunition
Available supported armament, ammunition, and special-mission equipment featured in the design of the M2020 (M-2020) Main Battle Tank (MBT).
1 x 125mm main gun in front-center of turret face.
1 x 7.62mm co-axial machine gun in front turret face.
1 x 7.62mm Anti-Aircraft (AA) / anti-infantry machine gun OR 30mm Automatic Grenade Launcher (AGL) on turret roof.
8 x Smoke grenade dischargers at lower turret cheek sections.

14.5mm Anti-Aircraft (AA) / anti-armor machine gun on turret roof.
40 x 125mm projectiles (estimated).
3,000 x 7.62mm ammunition.
300 x 30mm grenades.
8 x Smoke grenades.
Notable series variants as part of the M2020 (M-2020) family line.
M2020 - Base Series Designation.
Authored By: Staff Writer | Last Edited: 03/16/2024 | Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com | The following text is exclusive to this site; No A.I. was used in the generation of this content.

Due to heavy sanctions, the hermit kingdom of North Korea has, for decades, lagged in tank development and production when compared to its rivals in the region and in the West. This has resulted in a smattering of new, 'modern' offerings often based in existing, aging Soviet-era equipment. In March of 2024, North Korea debuted what it has bulled as 'the most powerful tank in the world' with leader Kim Jong-un driving the vehicle as the lead in a military parade. Externally, the system certainly looks the part of a modern Main Battle Tank (MBT) but its actual battlefield effectiveness is left to the imagination - North Korean Army elements have not been pressed into total war since the Korean Conflict of 1950-1953 over seventy years ago.

As such, the effectiveness of its new offering can only be estimated based on available limited data.

As of this writing (2024), about 9 total prototypes / pre-series vehicles are believed to have been manufactured with three physical forms having been identified in publicized photographs.

The North Korean tank, designated loosely as the "M2020" due to its reveal in 2020, is a direct counter to the South Korean K2 "Black Panther" MBT which arrived in 2008. Over 400 of this tank have been produced across four batches to date (2024). This design is more in line with Western offerings and follows the American M1 Abrams in form-and-function as a result. The K2 itself followed the K1 88-Tank of 1987 into service. This form has seen production exceed 1,500 untis.

At its core, the M2020 takes on a conventional appearance with the driver at front-center and two crewmen in the powered turret giving 360-degree traversal of the main gun. In keeping with the Soviet tank design tradition, the operating crew appears to number three (driver, commander, gunner) with an Autoloader covering the functions of the fourth crewman common to Western tank types. The engine is retained in a compartment at the rear of the vehicle. Armor is composite in nature, giving adequate protection against modern tank threats.

The engine is most likely a diesel-fueled unit outputting between 1,000 and 1,200 horsepower while driving six road wheels to a hull side arranged in a "track-and-wheel" arrangement. Armor skirts protect the upper regions of the track system while ERA (Explosive Reactive Armor) blocks further address survivability of these fragile components.

The turret carries all manner of modern solutions including a thermal imager and laser range-finder. A 7.62mm machine gun or 30mm Automatic Grenade Launcher (AGL) can be seated over the turret roof to contend with low-flying aircraft. A second 7.62mm machine is installed as a co-axial fitting in the front turret face as an anti-infantry measure and for ranging purposes. The turret also mounts ERA blocks at various stretches to enhance crew and systems survivability. Smoke grenade dischargers are set in the lower "cheek" sections of the turret with four launchers to each turret side. Smoke grenades allow the tank to self-screen its actions from prying enemy eyes.

Primary armament has been identified as the Soviet-Russian 125mm gun based in the 2A46 series of the 1970s. The weapon is stabilized allowing for firing-on-the-move and fires APFSDS (Armor-Piercing, Fin-Stabilized, Discarding Sabot), HEAT (High-Explosive, Anti-Tank), and HE (High-Explosive) projectile types depending on the target. These range between 3,000 meters and 5,000 meters. The tank also carries a pair of "Bulsae-5" series Anti-Tank Guided-Missiles (ATGMs) for defeating armor at-range. The Bulsae-5 is nothing more than the Russian 9M133 "Kornet" man-portable, shoulder-fired ATGM of 1998 with an impact-fuze detonation mechanism.

Since the start of the Russian war against Ukraine, Russia has become ever more friendly with regional allies in China and North Korea, the latter supplying with it thousands of artillery shells and other battlefield goods. Ally Iran has also played a major role in keeping the Russian war machine alive and well.

Operating weight of the M2020 is believed to be in the 50- to 55-ton range, putting it on par with Western offerings (comparatively, the South Korean K2 tips the scales at 55 long tons / 62 short tons).

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Global customers who have evaluated and/or operated the M2020 (M-2020). Nations are displayed by flag, each linked to their respective national land systems listing.

Total Production: 9 Units

Contractor(s): State Factories - North Korea
National flag of North Korea

[ North Korea ]
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Image of the M2020 (M-2020)
Image publicly released by North Korean state reports; Note the little man in the drivers seat.

Developments of similar form-and-function, or related, to the M2020 (M-2020) Main Battle Tank (MBT) Specifications and Pictures.
Going Further...
The M2020 (M-2020) Main Battle Tank (MBT) appears in the following collections:
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