The Chonma-ho’s more advanced features are why it’s been a successful North Korean export to Iran, which has a particular affinity for North Korean technology.
Thanks to the Chonma-ho’s more advanced features, the tank would probably be used by more skilled tanker crews, the so-called elites, to spearhead any breakthrough into South Korea.
The Chonma-ho may be the first DPRK tank that uses explosive-reactive armor paneling to defeat tandem warheads, seen in American TOW and Javelin missiles—though the paneling does not cover the tank fully, and offers many gaps in protection.
The quality and condition of North Korean tanks is probably highly variable, with North Korea operating decidedly aged World War II T-34 tanks, vintage Soviet T-55s, older T-62s, and a mixture of Chinese Type 62 and Type 59 tanks as well.
Both China and the Soviet Union supplied North Korea with tanks after the Korean War, making the DPRK’s tank corps quite large.