A report in Chosun Ibo on 17 June 2002 indicated that North Korea might have developed a new tank with capabilities similar or nearly identical to the Russian T-90 that was developed in the 1990s.
The tank, which did not have an official designation, but was believed to be called the M-2002 (for the year it was produced) was developed by the Ryu Kyong-su Tank Factory, located in Shinhung, South Hamhgyong Province. Later the name P'okpoong-ho (Storm Tiger) became associated with the tank.
North Korea's interest in the T-90 was demonstrated in August 2001 when Kim Jong-il, during his trip to Russia, visited the Transmesh defense plant, which built the T-90. Reports indicated that Kim either tried to purchase a T-90 or was trying to have one donated to North Korea, though it was not initially clear if those efforts were successful. It was later reported that North Korea had acquired a single T-90S tank.
The M-2002 tank was reported to have underwent performance tests outside Pyongyang on 16 February 2002. As of mid-2008 no visual confirmation of the vehicle had emerged and its final specifications were unclear.
In 2009 and 2010, images and video of the new tank appeared leading observers to note that the vehicle had characteristics of a number of different vehicles, including the DPRK's Ch'onma-ho T-62 derivative, the Soviet T-72 (from which the T-90 was developed), the Chinese Type 85, and even possibly the Romanian TR-800 and TR-85 tanks. The exact origins of the design remained unclear.
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