Ministry unveils new battle vehicle

Ministry unveils new battle vehicle

The Defence Ministry Monday gave the public another look at its locally developed 8×8-metre armoured vehicle known as the "Black Widow Spider", at the opening of an international defence and security trade show at Impact Muang Thong Thani.

The Defence Technology Institute introduces the “Black Widow Spider”, the first armoured car to be built in Thailand, at the Defence & Security 2015 exhibition at the Impact Arena. PATTANAPONG HIRUNARD

The vehicle, locally produced, was designed and developed by the Defence Technology Institute (DTI) in collaboration with the National Metal and Materials Technology Centre (MTEC) and a private firm.

DTI director Gen Sompong Mukdasakul said the Black Widow Spider marked a big step for the country in defence industry research and development.

He said it took the DTI research team about two years to develop the armoured vehicle, a relatively short period compared to most other countries which can spend no less than 10 years on a military vehicle programme.

According to Gen Sompong, the vehicle complies with the Nato Standardisation Agreement (Stanag) which establishes common equipment requirements, military methods and technical procedures for Nato member states. 

Designed as an amphibious vehicle, it can accommodate up to 12 personnel and may be armed with a gun turret for a 30-mm cannon. The vehicle can be used in various missions and can serve as a command vehicle.

The armoured hull is in compliance with Stanag 4569, which means it can provide protection against all small arms fire and from 0.57-calibre machine guns at 200 metres and can withstand blasts from 155mm artillery shells at 30 metres. It can provide a high level of performance in crossing variable terrains. 

Gen Sompong said the DTI, which is the research and development unit for the armed forces, aims to develop the defence industry in collaboration with private sector firms that have the ability to contribute to arms research and development.

He said the institute has come up with more than 20 defence and security projects in 2014-2015. Several of them showcased at Defence & Security 2015, the exhibition which opened Monday and runs until Thursday, have been handed over to the military.

Among the highlights are unmanned aircraft, combat simulation systems and a prototype of the Black Widow Spider mounted with a 122mm rocket launcher.

Defence & Security 2015 showcases the work of more than 400 leading international manufacturers to showcase and promote the latest defence technologies. Participants from more than 25 countries are expected.

The trade show opening was attended by Defence Minister Prawit Wongsuwon, his deputy Gen Udomdej Sitabutr, defence permanent secretary Gen Preecha Chan-o-cha and leaders of the three armed forces.

Talking to reporters, Gen Prawit said he received assurances from his Ukrainian counterpart Stepan Poltorak about ongoing bilateral defence cooperation. He also said Ukraine would deliver five Oplot battle tanks to the army at the end of this year and a batch of 40 BTR armed personnel carriers early next year as scheduled.

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