Thailand and China have progressed plans to set up a jointly run defence industrial facility in the Southeast Asian country that will be focused on supporting Chinese land systems operated by the Royal Thai Army (RTA).
State-run news in Thailand reported the industrial facility will be established later this year. The project, it reported, was the subject of bilateral discussions on 12 June between the Chinese military and RTA chief General Chalermchai Sitthisart, who is currently on an official visit to Beijing.
State-run news added that Gen Sitthisart also discussed with Chinese counterparts the progress of two major RTA procurement programmes: its order of VT4 main battle tanks and its planned acquisition of VN-1 armoured personnel carriers. Both platforms are produced by the China North Industries Corporation (NORINCO).
The RTA has so far ordered 38 VT4s over two orders in 2016 and 2017, worth a combined THB7 billion (USD218 million). An initial batch of 28 VT4s arrived in Thailand in late 2017. Jane’s understands that additional orders of the type – the export version of the MBT-3000 – are expected to meet an overall RTA requirement of more than 100 MBTs.
Jane’s understands that the proposed VN-1 acquisition has not yet been set to contract, although the Thai government has ring-fenced THB2.3 billion (USD68 million) for the procurement of an initial 38 units.
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