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Production remained at approximately 100 units per year at its peak.
On August 6, 2010, during a live firing exercise at Paju, a round exploded in the barrel of a K1's 105mm gun, destroying the gun, but leaving crew uninjured.
The M4A3E8 "Easy Eight" variant of Sherman tanks, dating back to World War II, had been retired from service by the Republic of Korea Army, and the backbone of the South Korean armor was formed up of M47 and M48 Patton tanks.
While the exact composition of the armor has still not been released, it has been confirmed that K1 is equipped with composite armor similar to Chobham.
However, upon closer inspection, numerous differences can be found.
The differences included the weight (55-ton XM1 versus 51-ton XK1), height (2.37 m versus 2.25 m), engine (1,500 hp Honeywell AGT1500C for XM1 versus 1,200 hp Teledyne Continental AVCR-1790, also used on Merkava 3, for XK1, although the XK1's engine will later be replaced with MTU MB Ka-501, a compact version of the 1,500 hp MB-873 Ka-503 used on Leopard 2), transmission (Allison DDA X-1100-3B for XM1 versus ZF LSG 3000 for XK1), and several other components used in the vehicles.
The XK1 retained the XM1's M68E1 105 mm rifled main gun, which would also be domestically produced under license with the designation KM68, as well as a fire control system by Hughes Aircraft Company and the Nd: YAG laser rangefinder.
One of the major differences was the addition of tank commander's independent panoramic sights on the XK1, which was missing on XM1, giving the XK1 the capability to utilize the FCS more effectively, notably by engaging in hunter-killer tactics, which the M1 series could not do until the introduction of the M1A2.