Thailand To Procure MBT 3000 Tanks From China 1113
On 16th May 2016 The Royal Thai Army officials confirmed that the army had entered into a deal with China to purchase the MBT-3000 made by China North Industries Corporation (NORINCO).
This agreement to buy the main battle tank which is also called VT-4 according to NORINCO, is made up of 28 primary units with consignments scheduled to begin before the close of 2016 and end within 24 months. The contract, priced at approximately $150 million made Thailand the first known export buyer of this kind of machinery.
During this time, RTA mentioned that if the first consignment would go well, they would acquire additional tanks they were seeking to obtain up to 150.
The agreed number of MBTs to be delivered in the first batch were estimated to be 50. The Wenhui Reuters reported that due to the chaos in the state of affairs in Ukraine, Thailand made an order for 200 T-84 tanks informally known as “fortress”. Delayed delivery made the Thai army look for other options then the MBT-3000 tanks came into their vision.
The RTA proposed that even if all the tanks are manufactured in China, Thailand also needed to shift production technology. Military observers said that the consequent generation of army tank tenders for the Thai Army carried out in previous years were not allowed to deal on the engine type of MBT-2000. As indicated by past records, MBT-3000 export price was estimated at about $4 million meaning the Thai Army contract was about $200 million.
The Thai Army chief backed the decision to buy the Chinese battle tanks. The Defence Minister of the Thai Government was responsible for inspecting the T-90 tanks apart from the MBT-3000s in the contract. There are sources that confirmed the budget to procure a new MBT was $8.9 million.
MBT-3000 tank was first produced by China in 2014. It weighs 52 tons, is 3.4 meters wide and 10.1 meters long. It has 1300 horsepower and has a water cooled turbo-charged diesel engine. It can reach a speed of 75 km/h when off-road. This tank is fitted with a 125 mm smoothbore gun and an automatic remote weapon station that can disseminate a wide array of missiles and shells using a new kind of “hunting- J” fire control arrangement. It can correctly hit a target of up to 5000 meters. The tank accommodates three namely: commander, driver, and gunner. It has an operational range of 500km and a torsion bar suspension.
Currently the Royal Thai Army has 28 MBT-3000 tanks in service which were delivered in October 2017. The contract included an alternative to buy an additional 153 vehicles. The Thai Army made an order of further 10 VT-4 MBTs from NORINCO worth $58 million. There are two potential operators of these tanks and these are Peru and Pakistan. Peru have been offered 100 of these tanks by China. On the other hand, the Pakistan Government is currently in talks with China to buy the tanks. This year in January, there were pictures that show the Pakistani army testing the tank.