Wednesday, January 29, 2020

Laos receives another batch of T-72B1 tanks, armored vehicles, upgraded airfield from Russia

The T-72B1 White Eagle MBT. Photo c/o Army Recognition.

The LPLA received a delivery from Russia of another batch of T-72B1 “White Eagle” main battle tanks, and a batch of BRDM-2M 4x4 wheeled armored reconnaissance vehicles. In addition, the Lao People’s Armed Forces (LPAF) formally received an ungraded airport built by Russia.

The deliveries were said to have been made as part of the 71st anniversary celebrations of the LPAF, with Russia’s Main Directorate for International Military Cooperation, Lt. Gen. Alexander Kshimovsky leading the Russia delegation. These are part of efforts between Russia and Laos to improve its long-standing defense ties.

The T-72B1 White Eagle main battle tanks and BRDM-2M armored vehicles were ordered from Russia on January 2018 as part on an agreement that involves Laos handing over around 30 World War II-era Soviet T-34 tanks which will be rebuilt by Russia and to be used for the annual Victory Day celebration parades, for museum expositions, and for making films on Russia’s Great Patriotic War (Russia’s description of World War II in Europe against Nazi Germany).

The first batch of T-72B1 White Eagle main battle tanks were delivered to the LPLA on December 2018. An upgraded version of the T-72 tank, it is equipped with a Kontakt-1 explosive reactive armor (ERA) kit, a PN-72U Sosna-U gunner’s sight with thermal imager and automatic target tracker, improved electronic systems, and a 12.7mm heavy machine gun on a remote weapon station.

Meanwhile, the upgraded Thongkaihin Airport located in Xiang Khuang province was improved with assistance from Russian specialists, and completed in time for the anniversary celebrations.

[1] Jane’s Defence Weekly
[2] TV Zvezda
[3] Defence Blog

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