Ch’ŏnma-2 (Production) – Even better?

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Ch’ŏnma-2 (Production)

Brief History
North Korea has a surprisingly long history of tank and AFV production, with some of their most recent developments being very interesting. During the Korean War, and for a couple decades after, North Korea relied on Soviet hand-me-downs, namely T-34s and their derivatives, T-55s, etc. In the 70s, the DPRK started development of their first MBTs based on their copy of the T-62 (Ch’ŏnma), which have continually been upgraded to this day. Following the Ch’ŏnma series came the Sŏn’gun, which was a wholly new vehicle, upgrading the armour and weaponry (to a 125mm instead of the 115mm). However, in 2020, an entirely new vehicle was unveiled as North Korea’s new best MBT. It was dubbed M2020 by Western analysts, but in May 2024, its name was revealed during an arms exhibition as Ch’ŏnma-2.

In 2023, the Ch’ŏnma-2 was revealed with a new ERA kit, and in March 2024, the vehicle was shown during training exercises, with all 9 vehicles having entered service with the 105th Tank Division.

This suggestion is very similar to my Ch’ŏnma-2 (Prototype) suggestion, but with an extra few paragraphs in the Armour section to describe the ERA, and some updated images throughout – otherwise the vehicles appear to be identical.

Important Note

  • The Ch’ŏnma-2 is one of the most secretive North Korean vehicles currently. It is unlikely we will ever receive concrete information on its characteristics, e.g. composite armour structure.
  • Due to this lack of information, I have gathered together as much solid information I can find, and made as few estimations as possible. They are, however, unfortunately necessary if this vehicle were to ever be added to the game
  • If North Korea were to be added, this vehicle would be necessary as a true top-tier MBT (11.0+), as the Sŏn’gun is simply not good enough for those BRs. I hope that if it were, Gaijin can accept that accurate primary sources are going to be virtually impossible to come by, and that well-educated estimations have to be enough

The Ch’ŏnma-2 broadly resembles a number of MBTs currently in service or in development, from a number of different countries. Some liken it to the Russian T-14 Armata, others to the American M1 Abrams, and some even to the Iranian Zulfiqar and/or Karrar. It probably takes inspiration from all of these, as well as likely technological assistance from Russia, China and/or Iran, for various different components, building on North Korea’s somewhat-decent experience building indigenous MBTs starting in the 70s.

Primary Armament
The Ch’ŏnma-2 has a 125mm gun likely derived from the Soviet T-72. The DPRK imported one known T-72 Ural (likely from Iran, who captured it from Iraq) in the mid-to-late 1980s, from which they reverse-engineered some technology. This is very likely the same 125mm as the Sŏn’gun, although the Ch’ŏnma-2 adds a muzzle reference system (MRS) to the end of the barrel.

Because the 125mm was very likely reverse-engineered from the T-72 Ural, the North Korean gun probably can’t fire GL-ATGMs. This is further proven by the presence of external ATGM launchers on both the Sŏn’gun and the Ch’ŏnma-2 (which I discuss in the next section).


  • Ch’ŏnma-2 firing during training exercise. The MRS is visible but slightly obscured.

The presence of an autoloader has been debated since the vehicle’s reveal – the 125mm cannon and some clear Russian influences led many to suggest it was autoloaded in a manner similar to the T-72. One image revealed during the 2022 Parade suggested it had 3 crew – further adding to the autoloading claim.

However, during the training exercises in 2024, it was revealed that the vehicle had 4 crew – meaning it must have a loader, and thus is not autoloaded. The manual reload rate of a 125mm is up for debate, but I would suggest around 10-12s.

m2020 crew

  • Ch’ŏnma-2s with all 4 crew

It has been speculated that the Ch’ŏnma-2 therefore has a bustle rack for ammunition, as well as some hull storage, in a similar vein to most western designs. This idea is supported by one image of the rear of the vehicle possibly showing a pair of blowout panels on the turret roof (see 2 images above). These may also be storage boxes/bustle rack access due to a number of latches surrounding them, but could still act as blowout panels by providing a path of least resistance.

North Korea has developed a very impressive-looking one-piece 125mm APFSDs for the Ch’ŏnma-2 – with a notably high L/D ratio. This is particularly interesting, given no other countries have developed one-piece ammunition for the Soviet 125mm cannon and its derivatives (not that they’ve needed to, given they have autoloaders). This round is quite likely to have fairly impressive ballistic qualities, maybe even on par with current 125mm rounds, especially if they were aided by a country like China. We don’t know any more details however (and likely never will), such as the material or any dimensions outside of very rough estimates.

Screenshot 2024-06-23 at 14.13.54‎ ‎ ‎ ‎ Screenshot 2024-06-23 at 14.13.49

  • APFSDS round (left) and APFSDS, HEAT and HE rounds (right)

They have also produced HE and HEAT-FS rounds. The development of one-piece ammo and the lack of an autoloader doesn’t preclude the use of other 125mm rounds, however. Although we also don’t know what ammunition the Sŏn’gun uses, and given it also lacks an autoloader, probably also fires this one-piece ammunition, North Korea may very well also have imported rounds from the Soviet Union or China, such as 3BM42 or BTA4 (125-I). Using these rounds would however increase the reload time, and the internal ammunition storage would have to be reduced to carry both parts.

Secondary Armament
Much like its predecessors, the Ch’ŏnma-2 houses a number of secondary armaments. The most lethal of these is a dual ATGM launcher on the right side of the turret. This has to be extended to fire, and has a similar shape to that of the Sŏn’gun (2018) (which appears always ready to fire; it may not be able to be retracted/extended). The launcher appears to have slightly changed shape from the prototype model due to the addition of the nearby ERA.

The ATGMs are the Bulsae-5 (9M133 Kornet copies). The Kornet is already in game with the feared BMP-2M – it is an incredibly powerful missile capable of penetrating 1200mm of armour with a tandem HEAT warhead. This will provide the Ch’ŏnma-2 with amazing supporting firepower. I don’t believe the vehicle will carry ATGM storage in the vehicle, so it would likely be limited to 2 only.

  • Bulsae-5 on display in 2021

  • Bulsae-5 (circled in red) being launched during training exercises, similarities (identical appearance?) to the 9M133 Kornet are evident

Alongside the ATGMs is a Soviet AGS-30 grenade launcher in a RWS on the left side of the turret. This is present on a number of North Korean MBTs, and is a nice additional source of firepower that could dispatch lightly armoured vehicles relatively quickly.

Electronics, Fire Control System and Sights
North Korea’s MBTs have never been particularly well-equipped with updated fire control systems or electronics, but the Ch’ŏnma-2 might be a step in the right direction. Much like the older MBTs, the Ch’ŏnma-2 has an external laser rangefinder (LRF), albeit in a slightly smaller box than usual. External laser rangefinders are somewhat antiquated but still perfectly capable.

The Ch’ŏnma-2 very likely has an advanced FCS, at least for North Korean standards. The presence of an MRS indicates improved stabilisation compared to the Sŏn’gun.

The vehicle has a CITV on the right of the turret roof, and the gunner’s sight in front of that. On the left, above the mantlet is what appears to be a night vision camera. The commander/gunner sights appear to be a domestic development, with no real similarities to many Soviet or Chinese designs. These both have thermal viewers, although predictably, no information about resolution or generation is available – I personally think they’re probably 2nd generation thermal imagers.

Screenshot 2024-03-24 at 22.25.06

  • The commander and gunner’s sights. Thermals are indicated by the separated halves of each sight

Screenshot 2024-06-23 at 14.00.55 ‎ ‎ ‎ ‎ ‎ ‎ ‎ Screenshot 2024-06-23 at 14.01.09

  • Gunner’s sight (left) and internal display screen (right)

There are 2 laser warning receivers – one next to the commander and gunner sights, and one on the opposite side of the turret.

  • Layout of key components of the Ch’ŏnma-2

Layout, Armour and other Protection
The Ch’ŏnma-2 adopts a very different layout to its predecessor’s. As mentioned earlier, the commander has switched sides, and the gunner is either in front of them, or to the left of them (and a loader is present or absent respectively). The tank has an elongated chassis reminiscent of the Iranian Zulfiqar-3, with 7 roadwheels, as opposed to the 6 on the Ch’ŏnma-215 onwards and the Sŏn’gun series. The Zulfiqar-3’s chassis is originally derived from the M60 and Zulfiqar-1, although it was elongated beginning with the Zulfiqar-2. North Korea may have adopted this elongated chassis and 7th roadwheel due to collaboration with Iran in the construction of the Ch’ŏnma-2.

  • Side view of Zulfiqar-3

The Ch’ŏnma-2’s armour is perhaps the least known aspect about the vehicle, unfortunately. It is very likely the vehicle has some sort of composite array, although there are no details. While North Korean vehicles have typically relied on add-on composite applique sections for improved armour (such as on the Ch’ŏnma-214-onwards), this vehicle almost certainly has some sort of turret composite. Some suggest it is internal, as is seen on the Zulfiqar-3 (which has a very similar turret shape, inspired by the M1 Abrams), or it could be welded on. It is even possible that the additional armour is welded on around a spherical cast turret, similar to that seen on the Sŏn’gun. However, this is purely speculative. The composite armour should be of a decent quality, however. It is not absurd to think that they have finally been able to develop composites on par with those of the 1980s Leopard 2, M1, Challenger, etc. The vehicle has a large ‘brick’ at the top of the turret, which may be composite as suggested by the bolts, or may be a way to rather crudely extend the height of the turret to improve internal space.

The production model introduces ERA across the front of the turret, as well as a few blocks along the sides. It’s unknown if the ERA is domestically designed, but it is likely an improvement over the ERA on the later Ch’ŏnma-216’s, and the Sŏn’gun. It has visual similarities to the Russian Kontakt-5 and/or the Chinese FY-4/-5, and is likely at least inspired by them. It should provide at least decent CE protection, and can likely protect against KE projectiles to some extent.

The Ch’ŏnma-2 has no frontal hull ERA like on the previous MBTs. However, there are bolts present on most of the UFP – indicative of composite armour. This is likely based on the T-72 Ural, which had an 80-105-20 composite array. However, it is not known how upgraded this will be on the Ch’ŏnma-2 – it could be the same, or it could be much better, inspired by modern Russian, Chinese or Iranian vehicles. The LFP likely also has some composite armour, given the lack of bolts on the small frontal section of the UFP (see image below), but is probably thinner.

The vehicle has some sort of composite block over the side-skirts, and additional ERA blocks across around 2/3 of the vehicle’s length. Rubber flaps cover the wheels even further.

  • My interpretation of the likely armour layout of the Ch’ŏnma-2
    • Red = composite
    • Green = (likely) composite, weaker
    • Blue = ERA

As secondary protection, the vehicle has slat armour similar to the T-14 Armata around the rear of the vehicle (hull and turret). This will probably only provide minimal chemical protection.

Perhaps the most surprising part of the Ch’ŏnma-2 is the hard-kill active protection system (APS). North Korea has used LWRs on previous tank models, that presumably can launch smoke when necessary to protect the vehicle from incoming fire, but these are basic and only soft-kill measures. A hard-kill APS further indicates foreign aid in building this tank. There are 2 active protection systems the North Korean one could be derived from: Soviet Drozd or Russian Afghanit. However, looking at the actual system itself, it appears extremely similar to Afghanit, which itself is mounted on the T-14 Armata. It is not impossible to believe that either a) Russia directly assisted North Korea in its production or b) North Korea illegally obtained the documentation for this system and produced it themselves. Whatever the origin, the APS has 6 launchers on either side (more than the 5 on each side on the T-14) of the turret. 3 are positioned at the front of the vehicle’s turret, barely reaching around the side. The other 3 are located near the rear of the turret.

  • The APS being tested, successfully intercepting an RPG-7

Screenshot 2023-12-28 at 14.41.48

  • The 6 launchers on one side of the turret, split into 2 sections

The Ch’ŏnma-2 also has smoke grenades located in the rear turret, surrounded by the turret basket. There are 2 launchers of 4 grenades each.

The Ch’ŏnma-2’s speed and weight are unknown, but can be reasonably estimated. As a starting point, the Sŏn’gun weighs roughly 44t. With the addition of a new road-wheel, a lengthened hull, similar or improved composite armour, more internal electronics and sub-systems, etc. and a weight of ~48-55t is likely. The Zulfiqar-3, from which this vehicle seems to inherit a number of characteristics, weighs ~52t, so it might be more reasonable to assume a weight of 52-55t. With additional ERA on the production model, the weight will be increased, but likely only ~1t or so.

It is believed the Ch’ŏnma-2 uses a new engine, likely around 1200-1500hp. In May 2024, an engine was shown displayed next to the Ch’ŏnma-2 – presumably its actual engine, although it can’t be discounted that it’s a mock-up for misinformation purposes. The engine appears almost identical (albeit still with some differences) to the German MT833 engine, mounted in, among others, the Merkava Mk. 4, Arjun, and K2 Black Panther (Batch 1 only). It therefore also appears similar to the South Korean DV27K, which is mounted in the rest of the K2 batches, and is a development of the MT833.

  • Ch’ŏnma-2’s engine

  • MT 883

  • DV27K

As such, it’s highly likely the engine has a similar output of 1500hp – which gives the Ch’ŏnma-2 quite unparalleled mobility compared to other ‘eastern’ MBT designs (with the exception of the ZTZ-99A which also has 1500hp).

This would, in turn, make a top-speed of ~70km/h quite likely. A 750hp engine, as on the Ch’onma-216, would be extremely underpowered for a vehicle of this size and weight, and would severely hinder its mobility.

  • Ch’ŏnma-2’s firing on the move

The Ch’ŏnma-2 would be the best top-tier vehicle in a North Korean sub-tree or United Korean tech tree. It would likely have a BR of 11.3-11.7, as it shares a lot in common with other vehicles of these BRs (e.g. T-72B3, ZTZ-99A, etc.). It has a 125mm gun with very good APFSDS, a hard-kill APS, LRF, thermals, good mobility and probably decent armour.

Primary Armament

  • Domestic 125mm
    • Stabilised
    • Domestic 125mm APFSDS
    • Domestic 125mm HEAT-FS
    • Domestic 125mm HE
  • Manual reload
  • Laser rangefinder
  • Gunner and commander thermals, CITV

Secondary Armament

  • 2x Bulsae-5 ATGM launchers
    • 1,200mm penetration
    • SACLOS, tandem HEAT
    • 300m/s
  • AGS-30 grenade launcher


  • Crew
    • 4 (Commander, Gunner, Loader, Driver)
  • Smoke grenades
    • 2x launchers of 4x grenades
  • Hard-kill active protection system (APS)
    • 6x launchers on either side, 12x in total
  • 2x Laser warning receivers


  • Hull
    • Front
      • Unknown composite array, possible developed from T-72 Ural
    • Sides
      • Unknown composite array sideskirts + slat armour + ERA
    • Rear
      • Unknown + slat armour
  • Turret
    • Front
      • Unknown composite array, possibly very similar to Zulfiqar-3 + ERA
    • Sides
      • Unknown + ERA
    • Rear
      • Unknown + slat armour


  • Speed
    • ~70km/h
  • Weight
    • ~52-55t
  • Engine power
    • 1500hp (estimated)





North Korea Hyped Its Main Battle Tank | 21st Century Asian Arms Race
M2020, New North Korean MBT - Tank Encyclopedia
M2020 tank - Wikipedia
M-2020 - 나무위키
불새 미사일 - 나무위키
Zulfiqar 3: The Shining Sword
Below The Turret Ring: Hardkill APS overview


Well detailed post about a unique N. Korean tank! I see no reason why this shouldn’t be added in-game so its a +1 for me. I’d honestly prefer to see this as a N. Korean Sub TT in the Chinese TT alongside some Pakistani vehicle fillers.


A proper modern MBT to cap off the DPRK sub-tree. +1


you can remove half of the turret cheeks where the smoke launcher sits

most likely no composite at all, like russian and chinese mbts.

look at the welds on the turret and tell me where the composite would be


It makes no sense for a country with the capacity to produce composite armour, and which has done so for decades, to not put composites in the turret of their best tank.

Pretty much every analyst has agreed the tank has composite internals, it’s practically a given at this point.


on the lower glacis, didn’t you see it was written in green?

but it would actually appear to have composite on the lower hull my bad plate, and a different type on the upper hull (bolted so maybe some type of era?).

You are right, those are just kimchi holders. /s

If you are referring to how the can fit the “APS launchers” there, the NERA array is probably wedge shaped in cross section, leaving a void at the bottom.


Oh, sorry, I didn’t realise you were referring to that image in particular. But yes, it does appear to be 2 different types of composite armour. The UFP is almost certainly composite, and is bolted on, but to me I don’t think it’s ERA. Likely a unique development of composite armour derived from Soviet and/or Chinese designs.

The LFP could either have composite (but weaker/thinner) or could simply be RHA, it’s hard to tell. However, given there’s that small section of the UFP without bolts (which I highlighted in green), that could indicate another, different block of composite for the LFP.

Here’s an incredibly rough (lol) diagram of what I mean:

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More likely its a monolithic armor module with mounting points and/or access to it.

+1 Have been waiting for more DPRK vehicles for a while.


When did you say anything about the lower glacis?

We have lots of new information on this now!!
The official name of this tank is the Cheonma-2 (천마-2호). It is apparently powered by the same engine as the K2 Black Panther and uses single-piece 125mm ammo. Lots more info to be extracted from the official state video, but this should help your two suggestions quite a lot!

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Amazing, tysm! Will look into this more and edit ASAP. So far I’ve just changed the name.

Screenshot 2024-05-30 at 11.01.25

  • Name plate that just about says <천마-2호> (Ch’ŏnma-2 Ho – Ho in this sense just meaning ‘type’, not part of the actual name)

Quite interesting they go for a rebrand of the entire Ch’ŏnma line and abandon the Sŏn’gun name, I would have thought they’d give it a completely new name owing to its uniqueness.

Engine claims I’d take with a grain of salt, but they do seem to have a good mock-up of it.

Screenshot 2024-05-30 at 11.05.39

Also showed the tank’s sights, they look good, as was suspected

And complete side-note, this light tank looks great! Seems to be a 105mm? First for North Korea if so, they’ve been stuck with 115/125mm so far. Could be derived from a Chinese design, Russia doesn’t use the 105mm. Wonder if they’ll follow through with it. If so, it will be North Korea’s first proper light tank after the Sinhŭng, which is just barely better than a WW2 design.


You’re welcome! Glad I could help!

I agree regarding that wheeled light tank/TD. Hope more info comes out about it soon! Looks like it also has a 30mm grenade launcher on the roof like the Ch’onma-2 does.

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Interesting they didn’t go for the APS, seeing as having one is growing in popularity for modern light tanks/IFVs. Either way, can’t wait to see a prototype of it, if they decide to produce one (hell, for all we know, they may already have made one)

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I’m sure they’ll show it in time, along with the other vehicle models at this event. There was an MLRS, an SPG, and a self-propelled mortar, I believe.

Be sure to message the mods and have the name changed on the list of already suggested vehicles, both for this one and the prototype!

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SPG is the Chuch’e 107, as far as I can see in a quick skim through nothing new. MLRS looks interesting but I admit I don’t know much about the truck MLRS’s that they have (yet, going to suggest a couple soon if I get round to it).

The mortar looks like a modernised replacement of the 323 140mm mortar system. Wonder if they’ll use the new chassis for more SPGs/IFVs like they did with the 323
Screenshot 2024-05-30 at 11.39.02fd87vbx7cx091

One step ahead of you on the mod front! lol

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Great! Not sure how mortar vehicles would work in WT, but I think it’d be a fun category tbh.

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Engine is copied straight from K2.

Updated with information about engine, ammunition and a few other small details from the arms exhibition


  • Likely uses a reverse-engineered (and modified) German MT883 engine, with ~1500hp
  • Fires domestically produced one-piece APFSDS, HEAT and HE rounds
  • Has domestically produced sights