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K21: The powerful South Korean IFV

K21: The indigenous South Korean IFV - GEOPOLITIKI

The K21 is an IFV of the South Korean ADD, which was designed to replace the older K2000. As of 2018, more than 466 vehicles have been built while South Korea aims to field 120 more until 2027. The Democratic Republic of Korea Army, also plans to acquire an upgraded version of it.

The vehicle has a weight of 25.6t, length 6.9m, width 3.4m, height 2.6m, has a crew of 3 people, while it can also carry a group of 9 people.

Its chassis is almost entirely made of aluminum thus reducing its weight and allowing it to move at high speeds without the need for a powerful engine.

It carries the 750hp D2840LXE V-10 diesel engine, while its upgraded version will carry an improved version of the engine with 840hp. The vehicle has a maximum road speed of 70 km and a range of 500 km.

K21: The indigenous South Korean IFV
Photo By 대한민국 국군 Republic of Korea Armed Forces – 2014.5.20 육군 수도기계화보병사단 K-21 장갑차 전투사격훈련 K-21 combat firing practice, Republic of Korea Army Capital Mechanized Infantry Division, CC BY-SA 2.0,

K21’s Armor:

As we mentioned above, its chassis is almost entirely made of aluminum reinforced with ceramic armor. It can withstand direct hits from 30mm armor-piercing projectiles on its front and 14.5mm armor-piercing projectiles on the rest of its sides.
The upgraded version of the vehicle will carry an Active Protection System (APS), for protection against ATGM missiles.

K21’s Armament:

The vehicle is armed with a 40mm K4O cannon with 300rpm firing rate, it also carries a 7.62mm machine gun and two AT-1K Raybolt type ATGM anti-tank missile launchers can be mounted.

K21: The indigenous South Korean IFV
Photo By Rheo1905 – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0,

All in all, K21 is a capable IFV, especially with its future upgrades, which can take down heavily armed and armored IFV’s, such as the BMP-3, as it was designed for.

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