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Thailand initiates light gun technology project

Thailand's Defence Technology Institute (DTI) has initiated a project to procure and develop technologies based around China's 105 mm CS/AH2 light howitzer.

The DTI said in a recently published price notification that the first phase of the project has a budget of THB48 million (USD1.4 million) and will support the local development of a 105 mm howitzer prototype.

The notice indicated an intention to procure CS/AH2 technologies from two possible sources: Chinese defence company Poly Technologies or Thai defence importer United Defense Technology. Both parties have offered reference prices for the procurement, the notice said.

It is likely that the new prototype would augment and replace some of the Royal Thai Army's (RTA's) inventories of 105 mm howitzers.

Existing RTA platforms include BAE Systems' L119 Light Guns, which were procured in late 2005. Older types include US-made M101s, Nexter Systems' LG1 Light Guns, and OTO Melara Model 56s.

It is also possible that the project could support the DTI's own M425 programme to develop a 105 mm howitzer. Three prototypes of this gun have reportedly been produced and trialled, mounted on an AM General M35 6×6 truck.

Additionally, the RTA has in recent years sought to develop and produce artillery systems in partnership with foreign industry.

The service developed the Autonomous Truck-Mounted Mortar (ATMM), integrating Elbit's 120 mm Spear mortar system with a 4×4 truck supplied by Indian company Tata.

A similar programme is the Autonomous Truck-Mounted Gun (ATMG), incorporating Elbit's ATMOS 155 mm/52-calibre self-propelled howitzer on a 6×6 10-tonne Tatra truck from the Czech Republic.

The two programmes were led by the Artillery and Mortar Production Division of the Royal Thai Army's Weapon Production Centre in Lopburi, central Thailand.

According to Janes Land Warfare Platforms: Artillery & Air Defence

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