Sŏn'gun '915'

Would you like to see this in-game?
  • Yes
  • No

0 voters

Where would you like to see this?
  • North Korea sub-tree in China
  • United Korea tree
  • Other
  • I said no

0 voters

Sŏn’gun ‘915’

Flag-North-Korea


Screenshot 2023-12-10 at 19.34.54

Brief History
North Korea, despite what some may think, has a surprisingly large variety of tanks and other AFVs. In particular, their indigenous variants and developments of the Soviet T-62 are incredibly interesting, and would fit nicely into the game. North Korea adopted the T-62 as their MBT in the 70s, replacing their antiquated T-34s and T-55s (although over 2000 T-55s are still in service in 2023). They obtained T-62s from 2 sources – directly importing them from the USSR, as well as producing them under license/reverse-engineering them. These were designated Ch’ŏnma (roughly meaning ‘Pegasus’) [note: some sources refer to these tanks as ‘Ch’ŏnma-Ho XYZ’ but the -Ho suffix is something made up by the US DoD].

The Ch’ŏnma went through a variety of different upgrades and modifications, ranging from glorified 1960s-era T-62s to effectively completely new vehicles in some of the later variants. The Sŏn’gun (referring to North Korea’s official ‘Military first’ policy, and again fictitiously referred to as Songun-Ho) was pretty much a completely new tank built from lessons learned from the Ch’ŏnma series, first seen in 2010. Multiple sub-variants and upgrades of the Sŏn’gun have been seen since, but this suggestion focuses on a unique, probably one-off variant seen only in a couple photos of a museum exhibit in an unknown year. This particular vehicle has the number ‘915’, likely being the origin for the ‘Songun-915’ name for the entire tank series seen online.

Characteristics
The differences between the Sŏn’gun and the late Ch’ŏnma variants are apparent even at first glance. The hull remains fairly similar visually, with the 6 roadwheels first seen on the Ch’ŏnma-215, but takes a turn in multiple aspects. The driver is positioned centrally like on the T-72s, as opposed to on the left-side on the T-62/Ch’ŏnma. The hull is also wider by about 20cm, and the vehicle appears to have smaller roadwheels. The vehicle has a completely new engine, with North Korean sources claiming 1200hp (although whether this is accurate or not is another question). The upper front plate also has ERA as standard, which was a first for North Korean tanks. The UFP also likely has some composite protection inside it, probably based on the T-72 Ural the DPRK obtained in the 90s, but this is unsubstantiated by any hard proof.

The most distinct difference over the Ch’ŏnma however is the new turret. Strangely, the turret is cast, an oddity among modern vehicles and a strange change from the Ch’ŏnma’s welded turrets. The turret is also pretty big, at least compared to that of the T-62. There are a number of reasons for this change, namely:

  • Addition of a 125mm 2A46
    • This is the first North Korean tank that is proven to have this gun, and it was likely reverse-engineered from their T-72 Ural
    • This means it lacks the capability to fire GL-ATGMs
    • Likely uses some Soviet APFSDS, along with modern Chinese APFSDS
  • Removal of the autoloader, re-addition of the loader
  • Potentially better gun depression

The armour (and composite structure) of this new turret is unknown, but given the size, it is probably quite thick, possibly similar to that of the late Ch’ŏnma variants (roughly 600mm thick frontally). North Korea claims over 900mm protection, but don’t specify if this is for kinetic or chemical ammunition, and the validity is more than doubtful.

However, compared to the initial Sŏn’gun (2010) variant, this one features:

  • New turret double-stacked ERA
    • North Korea claims this provides an extra 500mm of protection, making the front turret 1400mm effective, if they are to be believed (doubtful)
  • Unknown weapon above the barrel
    • One source claims these are MANPADs but they look too short to me, possibly AGS-17 grenade launchers instead
  • Dual ATGM launcher on the right side of the turret
    • This is likely Bulsae-3, as is seen on the Ch’ŏnma-216 (2018) and Sŏn’gun (2018)
    • Roughly 500mm penetration

This particular vehicle therefore has a very similar weapons and armour package to the 2018 version, but seen much earlier. Perhaps it served as a prototype for the package.

Conclusion
The Sŏn’gun would be a really cool and unique vehicle for a future North Korean sub-tree, taking the Ch’ŏnma and changing it to produce a mostly new design. As much of the vehicle remains unknown, it is difficult to say where it should go in the tree, but I tentatively propose a BR of 10.3-10.7, with BTA4 (125-I) and maybe even DTC10-125 APFSDS. This places it higher than the Sŏn’gun (2010) and slightly at the same level as the MBT2000, but with no thermals.

I think this particular version is best suited as a premium, given its one-off prototype status (and ‘famous’ name)

Specifications
Armament

  • 125mm 2A46
    • Stabilised
    • BTA4 (125-I) APFSDS
    • DTC-10-125 APFSDS
    • DTP-125 HEAT-FS
    • DTB-125 HE
  • Laser rangefinder
  • NVDs/thermals
    • Thermals unconfirmed, possible

Armour

  • Hull
    • Front
      • Unknown, possibly similar to T-72 Ural + ERA (possibly similar to Kontakt-1)
    • Sides
      • Unknown, possibly similar to T-72 Ural
    • Rear
      • Unknown, possibly similar to T-72 Ural
  • Turret
    • Front
      • Unknown, claimed up to 900mm + ERA (claimed 500mm)
    • Sides
      • Unknown
    • Rear
      • Unknown

Mobility

  • Speed
    • 70km/h (claimed)
  • Weight
    • ~44t
  • Engine power
    • 1200hp (claimed), 27hp/t

Images

Spoiler

WOVQKX0

Sources

Spoiler

songun-ho
Songun-Ho - Tank Encyclopedia
pokpung-ho
Ch’ŏnma - Tank Encyclopedia
Below The Turret Ring: Photographs from North Korean ATGM tests

2 Likes

I would definitely like to see this tank added to WarThunder.
Would be cool to also see decals, and even decorations for them as well!

1 Like

+1, for a United Korean tech tree

1 Like