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Defense & Security 2023: Thai army inches closer to D-Iron procurement

The RTA has a requirement to deploy the D-Iron for roles including infantry support, border surveillance, reconnaissance, logistics, and counter-insurgency. (Janes/Jon Grevatt)

The Royal Thai Army (RTA) is moving closer to procuring the D-Iron, developed through a collaborative arrangement between the Defence Technology Institute (DTI), an agency under the Thai Ministry of Defence (MoD), and Estonian robotic vehicle manufacturer Milrem Robotics.

A DTI official told Janes at the Defense & Security 2023 exhibition in Bangkok on 9 November that the D-Iron has passed a series of trials held by the RTA's test and evaluation committee in August in Saraburi, central Thailand.

The official said the trials included extensive tests of the D-Iron's manoeuvrability in heavy terrain and tests of its integrated R400S-Mk2 Direct Drive-Heavy Duty (D-HD) remote weapon station (RWS) – supplied by Australian firm Electro Optic Systems – and its associated Northrop Grumman M230LF 30 mm machine gun.

The acquisition of the unmanned ground vehicle (UGV) now moves to the RTA's materiel standardisation committee, which is anticipated to rubber stamp the procurement soon. After that, the RTA will be expected to finalise the terms of a procurement contract.

The DTI official said, “All trials are now complete. The next step is the standardisation committee, which reviews the D-Iron this month or next. The programme will then need to be allocated funding for the contract and production.” To support production of the platform, Milrem is expected to collaborate with local industry.

The DTI official did not comment on the scope of the RTA requirement. Those details will be finalised after approval from the RTA's materiel standardisation committee. However, he said the RTA requires the D-Iron for roles including infantry support, border surveillance, reconnaissance, logistics, and counter-insurgency operations.

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