Tag Archives: South Korea M48 tank

ROK Pattons still rocking

The Republic of the Korean army recently posted a series of photos of some of their much-updated M48 Pattons on the range, which look great considering their hulls are pushing 60 years of age.

Note the M48 compared to a Korean K2, a much more modern design

Ironically developed from the M47 Patton using lessons learned in the Korean War facing Chinese T-34-85s, the M48 was the standard main battle tank for the U.S. and NATO as well as adjacent Western Allies from the mid-1950s through the mid-1960s when the M60 supplemented and then later replaced the model by the 1980s.

The South Koreans received some 1,061 M48s of all models and updated the best of these examples, former U.S. Army Forces Korea M48A5s received after 1990 along with some M48A5K1s upgraded from M48A2Cs, with the 105mm KM68A1 (South-Korean made M68, the main gun used by the M60), then added a digital fire control system, laser rangefinder, and improved armor including side skirts, making them still capable of tackling anything shy of a T-72. They also use a diesel plant rather than the old gasoline powerpack and carry M60 7.62 NATO machine guns rather than M1919 30.06 guns as the original. 

As the Norks have some 2,200 Type 59/T-54/55s and some 1,400 Chonma/T-62s as the backbone of their armor branch, these updated M48s are good-to-go against the DPRK, on a one-on-one basis, anyway.

The ROK still has some 400 or so M48A5K2/KW models in service, mainly in reserve tank battalions or assigned to the ROK Marine Corps. At least seven other countries still operate large quantities of M48s including Greece, Iran, Lebanon, Morocco, Taiwan, Thailand, and Turkey, although the Korean variants are perhaps the most advanced.