Monday, May 31, 2021

Thailand receives 3 units of VN16 amphibious assault vehicles ordered from China


VN16 vehicles being unloaded in an undisclosed Thai port. Photo c/o AAG_Th Thai Defense page.

According to photos that surfaced from Thai social media pages, it appears that the Royal Thai Marine Corps (RTMC) has received its first batch of amphibious assault vehicles ordered from China.

Photos from social media show at least three Norinco VN16 tracked amphibious assault vehicles were unloaded in an undisclosed port in Thailand.

Also among those in the photo were officials wearing uniforms of the Royal Thai Marine Corps and Royal Thai Navy. as the vehicles were unloaded from a cargo ship.

One of the vehicles were reportedly spotted with a description document attached on the vehicle identifying it as Amphibious Armored Assault Vehicle VN16, for delivery to the Thai Marines Sattahip District, Chon Buri Province.

The VN16 is an export variant of the Norinco ZTD-05 amphibious fighting vehicle built for the People's Liberation Army Navy Marine Corps (PLANMC).

The vehicle is armed with a 105mm low-recoil rifled gun, a 7.62mm co-axial machine gun, and a QJC-88 12.7mm heavy machine gun. This allows the vehicle to operate as an amphibious light tank.

Thailand has signed a deal with Chinese defense company Norinco, for the three amphibious assault vehicles under a contract worth THB398,143,400 (US$12.6 million) on September 2020.

A second batch of vehicles are expected to be ordered by the Thai government by 2022.

The new VN16 amphibious assault vehicles are said to be a replacement to the RTMC's fleet of five Type 69-II main battle tanks, which has long been retired after the service failed to acquired their replacement in the late 1990s due to the Asian Financial Crisis in 1997.

The Royal Thai Marine Corps will be the second export user of the type, with the Venezuelan Bolivarian Marine Corps operating the Vn16 and a 30mm autocannon-armed variant called the VN18 in service since 2015.

[1] AAG_TH Thai Defense Page

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