Military Review

Russian armored vehicles in the South Korean army

32

Tanks T-80U in exercises. Photo Southkoreanmilitary.blogspot.com


Soviet and Russian armored combat vehicles were exported to many countries around the world, and some of these shipments are of particular interest. For example, in the nineties, an agreement was signed on the supply of tanks, infantry fighting vehicles, armored personnel carriers and various weapons for the South Korean army. He appeared for specific reasons and had curious consequences.

Debt and politics


Despite belonging to different political and military “camps,” the USSR and the Republic of Korea from a certain time developed economic relations and conducted mutually beneficial trade. However, later the situation changed, problems began, and by the time of the collapse of the USSR Seoul owed approx. 1,5 billion US dollars.

Soviet debt was the subject of Korean-Russian negotiations, which began shortly after the collapse of the country. At that time, independent Russia could not pay the full amount in money, and it was proposed to pay for military products. Seoul was offered to select certain samples for the agreed amount - with delivery from the presence of the Russian army.

South Korea initially reacted to such a proposal without enthusiasm. Over the course of several decades, she maintained a profitable military-technical cooperation with the United States, and the receipt of Soviet / Russian equipment did not comply with this policy. In addition to political issues, there were technical ones. Russian armored vehicles and armaments would have to be integrated into control circuits created by American standards.


BMP-3 South Korean army. Photo Southkoreanmilitary.blogspot.com

However, the Russian proposal had good prospects. Due to the existing debt, it was possible to obtain the most modern models from a leading manufacturer. In addition, the armored vehicles available to order differed favorably from those in the South Korean army.

Under the terms of the contract


The military and political leadership of South Korea weighed all the arguments, and decided that the Russian proposal was worth attention. The necessary bilateral consultations were held, and in 1994 an agreement was signed on the partial repayment of Soviet debt by supplying military products. According to his terms, Russia was supposed to transfer a diverse range of products, and the Republic of Korea wrote off half of its debts.

Under the agreement, the Korean army was to receive 33 main battle tanks T-80U in a linear configuration. Also ordered 2 commander T-80UK. In the interests of motorized infantry, 33 BMP-3 infantry fighting vehicles and the same number of BTR-80A armored personnel carriers were purchased. Together with armored vehicles, the order included more than a thousand 9K115 Metis anti-tank missile systems and several dozen Igla portable anti-aircraft missile systems. Armaments and equipment should have been transferred over the next few years.

The first Soviet-made MBT and IFVs went to South Korea in 1996 in the amount of several pieces. The next year, the pace of supply increased, and the customer has already received several dozen armored vehicles, as well as part of the missile weapons. Soon new parties arrived, and by the end of the decade the treaty was fully implemented.

Russian armored vehicles in the South Korean army

T-80U during exercises, 2019 Photo by Bmpd.livejournal.com

As new equipment arrived, South Korean troops mastered it and gained the necessary experience. Tanks and infantry fighting vehicles showed themselves well in tests and in service, as a result of which the Korean Ministry of Defense wished to acquire new vehicles of two types. However, armored personnel carriers were not included in the new contract.

The second agreement on the repayment of debt by armored vehicles appeared in 2002 and was implemented until 2005. With its help, the total number of MBT increased to 80 units; infantry fighting vehicles - 70. It was possible to rearm several new units and significantly increase the combat effectiveness of the army.

Obvious advantages


At the time of signing the contract, the state of the South Korean armored vehicle fleet left much to be desired. The basis of the tank units were American M48, which went through several upgrades. Since the late eighties, its own MBT K1 has been produced. Getting a few dozen Russian T-80Us dramatically changed the appearance and capabilities of the army.

The fact is that in all basic characteristics the T-80U was superior to the Korean K1, not to mention the older models. It had a powerful anti-ballistic reservation, and the gas turbine engine provided better mobility - with lower economy. The most important argument in favor of the T-80U was a 125-mm gun with modern ammunition and controls for that period.


Tank at the joint US-Korean exercises. It seems that the American tanker is satisfied with Russian equipment. Photo Bmpd.livejournal.com

The main means of transporting infantry in the early nineties were M113 armored personnel carriers of American and local production. Also continued production of its own K200 with higher performance. However, both of these samples in all major parameters lost to the Russian BMP-3. The latter had advantages in defense, mobility and weapons.

BTR-80A became the first wheeled armored personnel carrier in service with South Korea. This machine had certain advantages over the available equipment, but according to other characteristics, at least, did not differ from it. BTR-80A received mixed ratings, which is why supplies were limited to a single batch.

In the field of missile weapons, similar phenomena were observed. Not the newest American models were in service with South Korea, and modern Russian systems favorably differed from them.

Temporarily best


Thus, thanks to two agreements with Russia, the South Korean army was able to improve the overall appearance of its ground forces. She received more advanced tanks and infantry fighting vehicles, which favorably differed from the existing equipment. On the other hand, by 2005, a little more than one and a half hundred vehicles had been received - one could not count on complete re-equipment with all the desired consequences.


Joint work of the tank and infantry fighting vehicles. Photo by the Ministry of Defense of the Republic of Kazakhstan

However, over time, the situation began to change. South Korea continued to manufacture its own equipment. In parallel, projects were developed to modernize existing models, as well as completely new programs. When creating them, among other things, the operating experience of Russian infantry fighting vehicles and MBT was taken into account.

To date, all these processes have led to the emergence of several improved versions of MBT K1 and BMP K200. In addition, the latest K2 and K21 IFV tanks have been put in a series. Modern models in terms of performance surpass the old Soviet / Russian cars and take away the title of the most advanced equipment of the Korean army.

Against the background of all these processes, the T-80U and BMP-3 continued to serve in their original form. South Korean industry was able to master the production of individual components for small and medium-sized repairs, but more complex activities, including modernization was possible only with the help of Russia. For reasons of economy and political expediency, such measures were abandoned, and the armored vehicles retained their original appearance.

Foggy future


Currently, the South Korean army has approx. 80 T-80U tanks, up to 70 BMP-3 and a total of 20 BTR-80A. All these armored vehicles belong to the 3rd tank brigade of ground forces. The tanks were combined into two battalions of 40 units each, infantry fighting vehicles and armored personnel carriers were similarly distributed.


MBT K2 - the most modern example of the South Korean army. Before him, the T-80U was the most perfect. Wikimedia Commons Photos

Unlike their own Korean developments, Russian armored vehicles are not being modernized. To date, it is morally obsolete, because of which it cannot fully compete with local products. As a result, the long-term plans of the command provide for the gradual abandonment of Russian technology, as the supply of domestic products.

In 2016, Russian media reported on the upcoming Russian-Korean agreement, according to which tanks and infantry fighting vehicles would return to their homeland. It was reported that the evaluation of the equipment was completed and the contract was about to appear. It was proposed that the purchased armored vehicles be repaired and put into operation or put into service for spare parts. However, this topic has not been developed. No new messages about the transfer of used cars have been received.

It is very likely that in the coming years South Korea will continue to operate Soviet / Russian armored vehicles, but will not upgrade or replace it with similar imported models. As the resource is depleted, the machines will be decommissioned and disposed of. Also, the possibility of resale to third countries cannot be ruled out. The purchase of new Russian tanks and armored vehicles is virtually eliminated.

South Korea for a long time headed for the independent construction and development of armored vehicles. Under such conditions, the T-80U / UK, BMP-3 and BTR-80A have no particular prospects. No one plans to write them off right now, but their future no longer raises questions. One of the most interesting stories of military-technical cooperation of recent decades is coming to an end.
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  1. Sergey_G_M
    Sergey_G_M 13 June 2020 05: 20 New
    +3
    In the first photo, the closure of the muzzle of a tank gun with a plastic film pleased))
    It is clear that these are the nuances of operation in a hot and humid climate, but it still looks funny.
    1. svp67
      svp67 13 June 2020 20: 37 New
      0
      Quote: Sergey_G_M
      In the first photo, the closure of the muzzle of a tank gun with a plastic film pleased))
      It is clear that these are the nuances of operation in a hot and humid climate, but it still looks funny.

      I’m afraid that this is not exactly what you think ... like in foreign armies they do not hesitate to use various, purely civilian products ... in particular, elephant condoms, the first time I read it I did not believe it, but it turned out for sure that they use it, for the huge cheapness, in comparison with conventional rubber and canvas covers.
  2. Nikolaevich I
    Nikolaevich I 13 June 2020 05: 31 New
    0
    But I forgot something, which country purchased the combat modules from BMP-3 for BMPs of its own design in Russia? ... what
    1. Sergey_G_M
      Sergey_G_M 13 June 2020 06: 31 New
      +5
      It is more complicated here, the Turkish Otokar Arma 8x8 chassis with the Bahça - BTR Rabdan module, armed with the UAE. The module was bought and installed by the Turks or the UAE, I do not know. Other similar cases with the purchase of combat modules from the BMP-3, I also do not recall.
    2. English tarantas
      English tarantas 13 June 2020 11: 35 New
      +1
      It seems that the French had a project to put on VBCI 2 in one of the configurations of Bahchu, but they did not seem to do it in metal.
      1. Blackgrifon
        Blackgrifon 13 June 2020 21: 47 New
        +5
        Quote: English tarantass
        It seems that the French had a project to put on VBCI 2 in one of the configurations of Bahchu, but they did not seem to do it in metal.

        With VBCI, there was an option and put our 57 mm cannon - BMP "Atom". But the project died in 2014.
    3. Lopatov
      Lopatov 13 June 2020 12: 38 New
      +5
      Quote: Nikolaevich I
      But I forgot something, which country purchased the combat modules from BMP-3 for BMPs of its own design in Russia? ...

      Apparently, we are talking about the UAE.
      There was a competition for the supply of wheeled vehicles with a "troika", in the end the Finns won


  3. The leader of the Redskins
    The leader of the Redskins 13 June 2020 06: 14 New
    +1
    Thank. I did not know about the economic background of this contract. I thought it was just a small victory in the arms market.
    1. ccsr
      ccsr 13 June 2020 11: 17 New
      +6
      Quote: Leader of the Redskins
      Thank. I did not know about the economic background of this contract.

      Most likely, the background here was completely different - it was thanks to this contract that the South Koreans were able to create their own armored industry, which is why they willingly went to pay off the debt with these weapons. Their interest in this is obvious. After all, they could consume raw materials, such as oil, timber, metals, etc., and we would have to supply it. By the way, the South Korean self-propelled guns are now considered one of the best in their class - a good result for a country that did not have anything before delivering our equipment.
      Quote: Leader of the Redskins
      I thought it was just a small victory in the arms market.

      Yes, this is precisely a victory, if only because this equipment is still being used, which means they still have to buy something from us. Yes, and advertising is excellent for us - everyone knows the level of development of South Korea and if they already use our technology, then you can’t imagine the best free advertising.
      1. The leader of the Redskins
        The leader of the Redskins 13 June 2020 11: 21 New
        -2
        Well, here you are slightly contradicting yourself. We did not deliver self-propelled guns to them, so there was nothing for them to dance with. And to use a tank chassis - only the hull and chassis. Transmission, most often it changes places.
        1. ccsr
          ccsr 13 June 2020 14: 23 New
          +1
          Quote: Leader of the Redskins
          Well, here you are slightly contradicting yourself. We did not deliver self-propelled guns to them, so there was nothing for them to dance with.

          A whole arms industry cannot be born from scratch if the country before that did not even have decent models of its own design. The appearance of our armored vehicles entailed not only the training of the Korean military on it, but it was also thoroughly studied by those who were supposed to create their own armored industry. Self-propelled guns are inferior to the tank in terms of production complexity and cost, which is why they ran their developments on this type of equipment, which is quite reasonable.
          Quote: Leader of the Redskins
          And to use a tank chassis - only the hull and chassis. Transmission, most often it changes places.

          They needed to create their own production culture, the Americans may have asked too dearly for this, so they decided to kill two birds with one stone - and they returned the money, and we looked at the technical solutions. And the creation of their own self-propelled guns showed that they learn quickly, as indeed the North Koreans.
          1. The leader of the Redskins
            The leader of the Redskins 13 June 2020 15: 08 New
            +1
            Sorry, but again disagree. We sold them equipment, but not technology. Well, they did not begin to install gas turbine engines on their latest technology.
            The fact that they compared the culture of production, layout and so on, I agree. But in the Korean samples of ours is not visible.
            1. ccsr
              ccsr 13 June 2020 16: 25 New
              +2
              Quote: Leader of the Redskins
              We sold them equipment, but not technology.

              First, we were obliged to give them all the operational documentation, including the one related to the maintenance and repair of this equipment. And already this means a lot to any sensible designer and technologist. Secondly, it’s enough just to get some kind of sample to understand how it works and how it is made - there are many examples of this, because industrial and military espionage is ongoing.
              Quote: Leader of the Redskins
              But in the Korean samples of ours is not visible.

              The difference in time of production is too big - that’s the difference. Our Armata, too, on the T-80 does not look too much - this does not surprise us. But the school is the same - it is a fact.
          2. The comment was deleted.
  4. Vladimir61
    Vladimir61 13 June 2020 06: 24 New
    +7
    They paid the main debt - for themselves, the Bialowieza guys and others who paid for their independence from the pocket of Russia.
    1. Zeev zeev
      Zeev zeev 13 June 2020 09: 41 New
      +2
      Let me remind you that along with the debts of the Russian Federation, I received all the foreign assets of the USSR (including the multibillion-dollar debts of the third world countries, which the government of the Russian Federation has so generously forgiven over the years).
      1. Uncle Izya
        Uncle Izya 13 June 2020 13: 46 New
        +5
        These countries still would not give anything away))
        1. Zeev zeev
          Zeev zeev 15 June 2020 11: 31 New
          -1
          Strange, they give it to the Americans. Even after the change of power.
      2. neri73-r
        neri73-r 14 June 2020 22: 17 New
        +1
        Not all assets, Ukrainians squeezed part and others too
        1. Zeev zeev
          Zeev zeev 15 June 2020 11: 31 New
          -1
          What foreign assets of the USSR were "squeezed" by other countries left after the collapse?
          1. neri73-r
            neri73-r 15 June 2020 11: 44 New
            0
            Is it too lazy to open the Internet and see this topic?
            The Verkhovna Rada has not yet ratified the agreement signed during the collapse of the USSR, according to which Russia, along with the debts of the Union, received all of its property. This so-called "zero option" was recognized and ratified by everyone, but then Ukraine abandoned it. Now the situation is paradoxical: Russia has paid off all the debts of the former USSR, including the Ukrainian part. We pay for the maintenance of objects. But Kiev continues to lay claim to the property of the former USSR and prevents Russia from entering into legal property rights. ' The business manager said that a special subdivision has been created in the State Property Agency, which is looking for foreign assets.

            At the same time, we note from ourselves that Russia is recognized as the full successor of the property of the USSR only to Bulgaria, Hungary, Iceland, Finland and Sweden. In Austria, Belgium, Germany, Indonesia, Ireland, Luxembourg, Poland, Portugal, Romania, France, Switzerland, Vietnam, Iran and many other countries, the process of re-registering real estate of the former USSR is complicated due to the blocking note of Ukraine.

            But even in the real legal formalization by Russia of the succession of the Soviet Union, everything is also not easy.
            For example, a certain part of Soviet real estate in foreign registers is still listed in a country called “USSR”, which has long ceased to exist. But Russia, which considers itself the sole assignee of the USSR, still cannot re-register part of Soviet real estate abroad.

            https://oadam.livejournal.com/368861.html
  5. Keyser soze
    Keyser soze 13 June 2020 08: 07 New
    0
    Somewhere it flashed that the Poles were talking with Hyundai Rota about the purchase of the K2 Black Panther ... it was about a lot of 800 pieces and joint production. Koreans can easily break into the tank market - K2 is a modern and good car, and in a large series the price will drop.
    1. English tarantas
      English tarantas 13 June 2020 11: 39 New
      +3
      The price will fall, but I'm afraid it will remain behind the cloud anyway, especially for the Poles. Tear zloty count. Considering that they received before this, consider the equipment for free, then they gave ours, then the Germans gave almost nothing for nothing.
  6. Zaurbek
    Zaurbek 13 June 2020 08: 19 New
    -1
    BMP-3 can be bought back at a discount ... not enough.
    1. V.I.P.
      V.I.P. 13 June 2020 09: 02 New
      +8
      Why buy this junk? It would be better to have completed the mounds, boomerangs, (there is no talk about the T-15. There is no money for them and there will never be any). Maybe they have better reservations ...
      1. Zaurbek
        Zaurbek 13 June 2020 09: 24 New
        +2
        BMP-3 is still joining the army .... and BMP-1-2 is also there. Why not put the ammunition BMP-3 in there?
  7. Fishery
    Fishery 13 June 2020 09: 26 New
    0
    Pepsi used to have almost a fleet from the remnants of the USSR, too, an entertaining story
  8. snake
    snake 13 June 2020 10: 56 New
    +4
    In 2016, Russian media reported on the upcoming Russian-Korean agreement, according to which tanks and infantry fighting vehicles will return to their homeland.

    It would be great! I wonder how we would be presented with this next "wise" move of the Russian government. Okay, the T-34 was bought from Laos - there will be something else to hold parades for 100 years ahead. But BU-shnye T-80, so robustly used by Koreans - is a completely different song. I would have listened to her. To familiarize yourself with the depths of the bottom that propaganda can reach.
    1. vadim dok
      vadim dok 13 June 2020 15: 49 New
      +1
      To familiarize the height of the bottom of the propaganda!
  9. ser56
    ser56 13 June 2020 20: 04 New
    0
    interesting page, interesting - they didn’t want to modernize themselves or did the US put pressure on it?
  10. Pavel57
    Pavel57 13 June 2020 21: 52 New
    +1
    T-80 still delivered to Cyprus.
  11. Looking for
    Looking for 14 June 2020 14: 18 New
    0
    This technique was NEVER Russian. It was and remains a SOVIET technique !!!
  12. Comrade Kim
    Comrade Kim 16 June 2020 18: 24 New
    0
    Quote: Seeker
    This technique was NEVER Russian. It was and remains a SOVIET technique !!!

    That's right!
    So the T55 is still in service. Libernia will certainly say that his witnesses bulk developed)).



    Not bad happened.
    What is there with optics, there are interesting details if you consider the photo.
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