Pokpung-ho IV, also known in the West as M2002, is the most powerful main battle tank of the Korean People’s Army today, and it is also currently the tank with the most terrible firepower in the world.
Pokpung-ho IV is a newly equipped variant of the Pokpung-ho family of tanks designed and manufactured by North Korea, incorporating a number of technologies from the Soviet T-62, T-72 and Type-72 tanks. 88 China.
With 250 units produced, the 105th Guards Division is the only unit of the Korean army that owns and operates this type of tank.
Although it is the country’s latest tank, but using an old-fashioned chassis, Pokpung-ho’s improvement in the protection system mainly focuses on equipping complex armor and explosive reactive armor (ERA) blocks on the tank. tank hull and turret.
Therefore, North Korea focused on equipping very strong firepower to compensate for the defensive weakness of Pokpung-ho. The tank is equipped with a 125mm main cannon that can launch missiles through the barrel, a coaxial 7.62mm machine gun. While other tanks are only equipped with 7.62mm or 12.7mm caliber anti-aircraft machine guns, North Korean tanks are equipped with 14.5mm heavy machine guns.
Some are also equipped with twin-barrel salvo grenade launchers to increase damage to enemy infantry. And yet, this tank is also equipped with both anti-tank missiles and low-range air defense missiles, which can be said to be the most powerful firepower tank in the world today.
Although equipped with the best firepower compared to current tanks in the world, analysts pointed out that this “mixed” equipment only has an ostentatious and ineffective effect in real combat.
Specifically, modern tanks all use laser-guided anti-tank missiles launched through the cannon, while North Korea uses an external AT-5 Spandrel anti-tank missile.
However, this type of missile uses a wire-guided mechanism, when shooting the gunner must appear to aim, which inadvertently creates danger for the gunner himself.
On the other hand, the armor penetration on this weapon has never been appreciated. Also, mounting SA-16 low-altitude anti-aircraft missiles on top of tanks seems extremely dangerous for fighter aircraft or helicopters, but aiming it is very difficult when equipped on tanks.
Firstly, when opening fire, the crew must crawl out, reveal themselves completely to aim, aiming requires time, this is no different from sending people out to make targets for the enemy, sometimes not in time to do it. The crew was destroyed by infantry, or enemy snipers, or the armed helicopters themselves, which had a longer range and reconnaissance.
Secondly, the vehicle needs to completely stop so that the gunner can aim more accurately, this is dangerous for the tank itself when they are a “delicious” stationary target for the anti-tank helicopter.
Moreover, if confronted directly, the SA-16 shoulder-fired missile is not enough to help Pokpung-ho IV fight back against advanced armed helicopters such as AH-64 Apache or AH-1 Cobra with longer range and reconnaissance. much.
When it comes to fighting aircraft, perhaps the 14.5 mm KPV machine gun is even more effective than the SA-16 man-portable air defense missile. There is even an opinion that it is better to have a removable missile launcher in the vehicle than to have it fixed on the turret.
In addition, the parameters of the Pokpung-ho IV tank are not really impressive, the vehicle weight is about 51 tons; crew of 3; The car uses a diesel engine with a capacity of 1200 horsepower for a maximum speed of 60 km / h, a range of 500 km.
The fire control system as well as the defense system is not really enough to match the top modern tanks in the world today.
Perhaps realizing that the armament of firepower is somewhat “embracing” but not very effective, the new improved variants North Korea has removed anti-tank missiles, anti-aircraft missiles and even multiple rocket launchers, only leaving the 14.7mm machine gun next to the 125mm main gun and 7.62mm coaxial machine gun.