By Thai Newsroom Reporters
THAILAND’S MARINE Corps plans to buy three light amphibious tanks from China for a combined price of 398 million baht.
The VN16 light amphibious tanks would be supplied to the Marine Corps by Norinco of China in about a year after a purchase order has been signed, said a Marine Corps officer who only spoke on condition of anonymity.
The Marine Corps has earlier planned to procure a new fleet of six light amphibious tanks, the officer said. Delivery of the first batch of three of that type, each having a 132 million baht price tag, is expected some time next year, he said.
The lightweight, aluminum alloy-armoured amphibious tank is fitted with a 105mm howitzer and can travel at an average speed of 65 kilometres per hour on the road and 25 kilometres per hour in the sea.
The VN16 light amphibious tanks will replace the now-decommissioned Type 69-II light amphibious tanks.
Marine Corps commanders earlier viewed manoeuvrability of the Chinese-built light amphibious tank during the Blue Strike 2016 joint exercise between the Thai and Chinese marine corps in Chonburi province.
Top: Chinese-made VN16 105mm light amphibious tank at Air Show China, November 2016. Photo: Army Recognition