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Thailand looks to procure more VT-4 tanks from China

16 January 2019
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The Royal Thai Army is reportedly looking to secure funds to procure 14 additional VT-4 MBTs made by Norinco. Source: Norinco

The Royal Thai Army (RTA) is reportedly seeking cabinet approval to procure additional VT-4 main battle tanks (MBTs) made by the China North Industries Corporation (Norinco).

Local media reported on 16 January that the RTA proposal features the acquisition of an additional 14 units at a cost of about THB2.3 billion (USD72.5 million).

The proposal, if approved by government, will take the RTA's VT-4 inventory to 52. The RTA ordered 28 VT-4s from Norinco in 2016 for THB5 billion and another 10 in 2017 for THB2 billion.

The initial batch of 28 tanks was delivered in late 2017, making Thailand the first export customer of the VT-4, which is the export version of the MBT-3000 design.

The RTA has not yet confirmed the planned acquisition of an additional 14 VT-4s, although Jane's understands that the proposed procurement is consistent with the service's requirements.

Announcing plans to acquire a second batch of 10 VT-4s in 2017, Thailand's Defence Minister Prawit Wongsuwon stated that the RTA would look to procure additional tanks over the next few years.

RTA sources have also previously confirmed to Jane's an overall requirement within the service to procure at least another hundred MBTs to replace ageing and depleted inventories of US-produced M41 light tanks as well as increasing the army's size and capabilities.

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