The General Purpose Machine Gun (GPMG) has been around since the mid-1930s when the Germans introduced the MG34 series (detailed elsewhere on this site). This air-cooled, belt-fed weapon was used in a myriad of roles for the Germans: at the squad-level, as fixed, defensive airspace-denial weapons, on vehicles and in aircraft. This multi-faceted functionality lent itself well to the changing requirements of war and made the MG34, and its successor the MG42, a classic weapon of the war.
The GPMG remains a staple of modern militaries through examples like the American M60 and M240, the Soviet-Russian PK and the Belgian FN MAG. For the Republic of Korea Army of South Korea, S&T Motiv produces the "K12" GPMG. It was unveiled in prototype form as the XK12 in 2009 and entered serial production in 2012 (still ongoing). The K12 was adopted to succeed the aging line of imported and locally-produced M60 GPMGs in service (produced locally under license by Daewoo).
The K12 is chambered for the readily-available 7.62x51mm NATO rifle cartridge which gives good penetrative power at range. The weapon has a range of about 800 meters and can achieve a rate-of-fire between 650 and 950 rounds-per-minute. Feeding is by way of a disintegrating belt making the K12 a true machine gun system.
The rectangular receiver makes up much of the bulk of the weapon. At rear is fitted a sliding (collapsible) shoulder stock as well as spade grips. Under the receiver is also a pistol grip so the weapon can be quickly converted to any needed role desired. The barrel is of a quick-change design and extends out over the front of the weapon in traditional fashion. Under the barrel is the gas cylinder which allows for regulation of pressures that affect the rate-of-fire. Iron sights are fitted over the receiver and barrel but a section of Picatinny rail seated over the receiver supports installation of an optics set. Additional rails are seen at the sides of the barrel/gas cylinder position. A hinged, folding bipod is carried under the gas cylinder so the weapon can be quickly turned into a mobile light machine gun. Otherwise the weapon can be sat upon a pintle mounting on vehicles and in helicopters or installed on a heavy duty tripod for sustained fire in the fixed defense role.
The "XK-12C1", a derivative of the K12 family, is an in-development co-axial tank / vehicle version of this same gun. A heavier barrel has been introduced for sustained fire as has a solenoid actuated trigger system for firing from within a vehicle. These will replace M60C GPMGs currently in service with the Republic of Korea Army.