Thailand closer to BTR-3E1 production deal with Ukraine

7:37:00 PM
BANGKOK, -- Ukraine and Thailand are close to finalising a programme that would support a Royal Thai Army (RTA) plan to locally build the 8x8 BTR-3E1 armoured personnel carrier (APC), a senior official from Ukraine's state-owned defence exports and industry agency Ukroboronprom told IHS Jane's on 3 November.

He said the plan would feature three phases and be implemented over the long term as Thailand gradually develops local industrial capability. The programme would support future RTA programmes to procure the BTR-3E1 as well as plans to export the APC to regional countries.

The RTA ordered in 2008 and 2011 more than 220 BTR-3E1s, which are being manufactured by the Kharkov Morozov Machine Design Bureau. Deliveries have been delayed by conflict in Ukraine but Ukroboronprom expects to hand over to the RTA the last of the ordered vehicles before the end of 2015, said the official, who did not want to be identified.

This would be followed, he added, by the programme to produce BTR-3E1s in Thailand. "We hope to sign a co-operation agreement in the near future," he said.

The BTR-3E1 programme would be carried out over several years and feature various levels of training and support for RTA technicians. Private industry in Thailand would not be involved in the programme with the RTA's own production units leading the project.

The first phase would feature RTA production units assembling the BTR-3E1 from kits supplied by Ukraine. If this is deemed a success, the two countries then hope to facilitate the RTA's manufacture of components and subassemblies, leading to full production of the vehicle. Under the final stage, elements of the BTR-3E1 that would not be manufactured in Thailand include armoury and weapons and the vehicle's MTU engine, which is sourced from Germany.

In addition to the BTR-3E1s, the RTA ordered T-84-derived BM Oplot main battle tanks (MBTs) in 2011.

The Royal Thai Army 8x8 BTR-3E1 armoured personnel carrier (APC).

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