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The Korean Smart Top-Attack Munition (KSTAM) is a smart munition intended to be launched from the gun of a main battle tank, namely the K2 Black Panther. Comparable systems include Diehl Corporation's Spear and SMArt 155, Israeli Aerospace Industries LAHAT, Israeli Military Industries Excalibur, GIAT Industries Polynege, Alliant Techsystems STAFF and MRM-KE, Raytheon's MRM-CE, and the two final companies' TERM.
There are two variants of KSTAMs; KSTAM-I and KSTAM-II. KSTAM-I is modeled after Israel's 105 mm Excalibur top-attack munition, while KSTAM-II is modeled after Diehl's SMArt 155. While the two systems significantly differ from one another, their concept remains the same; to defeat enemy armor by attacking their most vulnerable spot, the top.
Not much is known about the KSTAM-I, other than the fact that it was based on Israeli Military Industry's 105 mm Excalibur top-attack munition. It was to have a minimum range of 2 km with maximum being 5 km.
KSTAM-II was co-developed by South Korea and Germany's Diehl Corporation. The KSTAM-II is launched from the 120 mm L55 main guns mounted on the K2 Black Panther main battle tanks that are to be fielded by the South Korean military, and will be used for attacking targets, stationary or moving, that are hidden behind obstacles. It is similar to the SMArt 155.
It is speculated that the KSTAM-I has been abandoned in favor of KSTAM-II's higher capability, and thus the following article will focus on KSTAM-II.
Basically a guided anti-tank mortar munition, the KSTAM flies with the energy applied to it from the firing of the munition from the main gun. It does not possess any kind of propellants, and should not be confused as a missile or a rocket. The trajectory of the munition is curved, giving it a mortar- or artillery-like capability to strike targets taking cover behind obstacles. Its main use is to destroy entrenched and/or covered enemy vehicles that are unreachable with regular anti-tank shells due to the restrictions in terrain and/or hazards imposed upon the friendly vehicle.
The KSTAM is specifically designed for the 120 mm L55 guns mounted on the K2 Black Panther main battle tanks, and there are no other launch vehicles announced that are capable of firing such projectiles.
The munition is equipped its own guidance and obstacle-avoidance systems for navigation, small millimeter band radar and infrared sensors for target identification, and an Explosively Formed Penetrator for attacking targets.
The launch vehicle does not need to be revealed in order to use the munition, as the munition is equipped with its own navigation and targeting systems and gives it fire-and-forget capability. The vehicle can be completely hidden behind obstacles and still be able to launch the munitions as long as there is enough clearing for the barrel to elevate.
After being fired, the munition will begin its travel towards over the designated area, aided by four fins to stabilize its flight, where it would deploy its parachutes to slow its descent, giving its target-acquisition radar and infrared sensors enough time to identify and acquire a target, then fire its EFP at the top of it.
The munition can be manually controlled in a limited fashion by the launch vehicle using a live data link feed.
The minimum range of the munition is 2 km, while the maximum range is 8 km.