Tuesday, October 22, 2013

First Five T-84 Oplot-M / BM Main Battle Tanks From Ukraine Ready For Thailand

The Malyshev Plant in the Ukraine has finished the first five Oplot-M / BM Main Battle Tanks (MBT) for Thailand. A total of 49 tanks were ordered in 2011 for about 7.2 billion Thai baht or $230 million.

The T-84 is a derivative of the T-80 developed during Soviet times, which replaces Russian components with Ukrainian versions and several other upgrades such as a welded turret, Kontakt-5 explosive reactive armor and a Shtora-1 countermeasures suite.

The Oplot version features a host of changes such as a western style turret with compartments for both the crew and ammunition to improve crew survivability. This version retains the 125 mm KBA-3 smoothbore gun, but it has a bustle-mounted autoloader. A 120 mm gun compatible with NATO rounds is available an an option.

The latest version of the Oplot is the Oplot-M or Oplot BM which features even more improved armor and various upgraded electronics. The Oplot-M MBT will replace the M41 tanks in Thai service and up to 200 Oplot tanks may eventually be acquired.

Besides Ukrainian tanks, Thailand has also bought the BTR-3E1 armored vehicles from the Ukraine. They serve as Armored Personnel Carriers (APC), Infantry Fighting vehicles (IFV) and various other duties.

Over 200 vehicles have so far been acquired in several batches with the first delivered in 2010. The latest batch of 15 BTR-3E1  and 6 BTR-3RKT were ordered in August 2013 and will be assembled locally.

The 8x8 wheeled vehicles can carry 6 soldiers within its compartment and can be mounted on top with a 30 mm gun, grenade launchers and anti-tank missiles which are all easily replaceable.


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