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How North Korea Manufactured Its Copies of the T-62 And T-72, And Will Such Tanks Be Supplied to russia

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Armored vehicles of North Korea / Illustrative photo from open sources
Armored vehicles of North Korea / Illustrative photo from open sources

Where the Kremlin can get additional armored vehicles that are needed "here and now" occupying Ukraine

For the new offensive in 2023, russians are trying to gather a mass of troops of 200,000 conscripts, who will be recruited as part of a new wave of "partial mobilization" and will be used to form new units of the russian army. Based on the current staff list of russia’s Armed Forces, the russian military-industrial complex must work for several years to produce a sufficient amount of equipment and weapons for the mobilized troops.

The Kremlin actually understands this disappointing prospect for itself. Therefore, they try to get weapons wherever they can. For example, in late December 2022, it became known that Wagner Goup had bought artillery and rockets in North Korea.

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How North Korea Manufactured Its Copies of the T-62 And T-72, And Will Such Tanks Be Supplied to russia , Defense Express, war in Ukraine, Russian-Ukrainian war
The North Korean MLRS / Illustrative photo from open sources

It is clear that thinking about "where russians can get weapons" has a certain element of speculation. But there is no need to despise it, at least because a year ago, we all could hardly have imagined that russia would bombard Ukrainian cities with exotic kamikaze drones, bought in general from Iran.

It is obvious that the list of states where russians can ask for weapons is limited by two factors: the presence of Soviet-style main battle tanks and relations with the Kremlin. Such a narrow list of countries includes North Korea with large stocks of Soviet armament. But reading the article of Polish Defense24, you will see that quite often exotic indexes are simply copies of well-known weapons.

How North Korea Manufactured Its Copies of the T-62 And T-72, And Will Such Tanks Be Supplied to russia , Defense Express, war in Ukraine, Russian-Ukrainian war
The North Korean Songun-ho tank, which contains structural elements from both the T-62 and the T-72 tanks / Illustrative photo from open sources

For example, the DPRK has up to 3,500 tanks of various types at its disposal. Some of them refer to Chonma-ho type vehicles, which are basically a North Korean copy of the Soviet T-62.

Overall, there are six modifications of this tank, which correlate with each other in terms of characteristics in the same way as the "original" T-62, modernized T-62M and T-62МВ, which have already been applied in Ukraine. Some of these tanks are even equipped with a laser sight and dynamic protection. The fundamental difference from the original Soviet T-62 is the level of quality of the armored steel that was used to manufacture the North Korean Chonma-ho.

How North Korea Manufactured Its Copies of the T-62 And T-72, And Will Such Tanks Be Supplied to russia, Defense Express, war in Ukraine, Russian-Ukrainian war
Armata-like North Korean Songun-915 tanks on parade / Illustrative photo from open sources

The North Korean army also has tanks with other exotic index Pokpung-ho, Chonma-215 and Chonma-216. These are local copies of the Soviet T-72, their production took place (probably) with the support of engineers from China.

How North Korea Manufactured Its Copies of the T-62 And T-72, And Will Such Tanks Be Supplied to russia , Defense Express, war in Ukraine, Russian-Ukrainian war
North Korean Pokpung-ho tanks, a local copy of the T-72, with the Igla MANPADS launchers installed / Illustrative photo from open sources

In addition to possible visual nuances, there may also be differences in the set of weapons: for example, sometimes the North Korean military puts AGS-17 or AGS-30 on their tanks, or launchers for their local copies of the Fagot or Konkurs ATGMs.

A meticulous reader may object that in reality the DPRK will not provide russia with any tanks, and all of the above will remain only "on paper".

In fact, Defense Express also wants it to be like that. That the Kremlin's attempts to "extort" weapons for its conscripts would end in failure, and that the new wave of the partially mobilized would have nothing to send into battle against the Armed Forces of Ukraine.

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