10 Februari 2016
M41 Walker Bulldog tanks (photo : pantip)
The Royal Thai Army have allocated a budget of almost THB 9 billion to procure new tanks after additional procurement of the OPLOT tanks from Ukraine ran into problems. Which 3 models have been short listed one of the short listed model is the T90S many observers think there will be some negotiations concerning the T-90S during the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defense General Prawit Wongsuwan visit to Moscow this February.
Further investigation by the Nation have revealed that the budget of THB 8,997,450,000 have already been allocated spread out across three fiscal years from 2016 to 2018 for the purchase of replacement of 51 M41 Walker Bulldog tanks produced by the US. Which has been in service with the RTA for 50 years since the Vietnam war.
“These tanks first appeared in service with the RTA in 2006, due to it’s long service RTA deemed it a necessity to replace them which originally the OPLOT tank was chosen as the replacement tank, however since the coup there are problems to procure additional OPLOT tanks which restricts sales to governments that have been taken over by a coup and if the RTA delayed the procurement till after the elections there would be problems with the budget which has already been approved and unused which would have to be returned to the Finance Ministry.”
Under these circumstances the RTA submitted other alternatives such as the Russian T-90S, S.Korean KA1A and Chinese VT-4 of which the S.Korean KA1A have not been officially approved for export and the Chinese VT-4 failed due to quality issues.