Thailand looks to Ukrainian MBT purchase
The Royal Thai Army (RTA) intends to procure about 100 Oplot main battle tanks (MBTs) from Ukraine's Kharkiv Malyshev Plant (KMP) to replace its ageing M41 light tanks, senior officers in the RTA confirmed to Jane's on 29 March.
The deal has already been allocated funds by the Thai government, said the sources. The purchase is believed to be worth at least THB7 billion (USD230 million); negotiations between Thailand and Ukraine are expected to commence imminently.
The Oplot is believed to have been selected by the RTA over the Hyundai Rotem K1 of South Korea and the Russian-made T-90 (manufactured by the Uralvagonzavod MBT production facility).
One senior officer said the RTA selected the Oplot MBT against other platforms in the competition on conditions of "quality and price". He added that the pending acquisition would represent the second phase of a programme that started in 2007 when the RTA purchased 96 BTR-3E1 armoured personnel carriers from the Kharkiv Morozov Machine Building Design Bureau (KMDB).
The Oplot was developed by the KMDB and built by the KMP. The Ukrainian armed forces took delivery of the tank in June 2009. At that time, Jane's reported that the Oplot was expected to cost about USD2.6 million per unit.
Once Thai-Ukraine contractual negotiations are completed, the RTA expects to take delivery of the Oplot MBTs from about 2013-2014. The tanks will be based in RTA cavalry divisions in Bangkok, the northeastern province of Nakhon Ratchasima, the northern province of Phitsanulok and Nakhon Si Thammarat in the south.
Таиланд планирует закупку 100-ни танков "Оплот" на суму около 230 млн. долларов США. В качестве кандидатов рассматривались Российский танк Т-90 и южнокорейский К1. Таиланд планирует получить танки в 2013-2014 году.