Army to buy 14 more Chinese tanks at cost of B2.3bn

Army to buy 14 more Chinese tanks at cost of B2.3bn

A Chinese-manufactured VT4 battle tank is deployed in simulated warfare during a demonstration attended at the Royal Thai Army Calvary Centre in Saraburi on Jan 24, 2018. (Photo by Chanat Katanyu)
A Chinese-manufactured VT4 battle tank is deployed in simulated warfare during a demonstration attended at the Royal Thai Army Calvary Centre in Saraburi on Jan 24, 2018. (Photo by Chanat Katanyu)

The Royal Thai Army plans to purchase 14 more heavy tanks from China, a move underlining the increasingly close defence relations between Bangkok and Beijing.

An army source said on Monday the army will purchase 14 more VT4 tanks, plus ammunition, at a total cost of 2.3 billion baht, to further supplement the first procurement of 28 units in 2016. The VT4 is a third-generation main battle tank built in China for overseas export. 

Army chief Gen Apirat Kongsompong had assigned his assistant, Gen Wijak Siribansop, chairman of the procurement panel, the source said.

Gen Wijak would leave for China in late February to test the tanks' performance and the procurement proposal was expected to be forwarded to cabinet in March, the source added.

The first batch of 28 VT4 tanks was purchased in 2016 at a cost of 4.9 billion baht, and the second batch of 11 tanks, which arrived in 2017, cost 2 billion baht.  

The were deployed to the 3rd Cavalry Division in Khon Kaen.

The latest procurement was arranged in talks between Gen Han Weiguo, the commander of the People's Liberation Army, and  Gen Apirat during his visit to Beijing from Jan 6-9, the source said.

The army leader also met Chinese Defence Minister Wei Fenghe on Jan 7. Gen Apirat said the Thai army was willing to deepen defence cooperation with its Chinese partner, the China Military Online reported.


Do you like the content of this article?
COMMENT (20)

Protest leaders report to police, hear lese majeste charges

Five leaders of the People's Movement reported to Chana Songkhram police on Monday to hear charges of lese majeste brought under Section 112 of the Criminal Code over the demonstration at Sanam Luang on Sept 19-20.

17:25

New Zealand lays charges over volcano deaths

WELLINGTON: New Zealand's workplace regulator has filed charges against 13 parties following an investigation into a volcanic eruption on White Island in 2019 which killed 22 people.

17:10

Bank of Thailand to unveil measures to contain baht

The Bank of Thailand (BoT) will hold a briefing on Dec 9 to unveil additional measures to contain the baht, an official said on Monday, blaming both short- and long-term factors for the currency's strength.

16:56