Royal Thai Marines receive Chinese VN16 amphibious light tanks
A picture published in Thai online social media on May 28, 2021, shows Norinco VN16 amphibious light tanks being unloaded at Sattahip naval base (Chon Buri Province), in Thailand. Three VN16s were delivered, according to Defense Studies. The vehicles have the camouflage pattern of the Royal Thai Marine Corps.
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Delivery of three NORINCO VN16 amphibious light tanks for the Royal Thai Marines Corps (Picture source: AAG)
In September 2020, the Royal Thai Navy announced it would purchase three VN16 amphibious assault vehicles for 398,143,400 baht ($ 12,579,570.05) from NORINCO in the first phase. The Chinese company has now delivered the three ordered VN16 amphibious assault vehicles to the Royal Thai Marine Corps within just eight months since the announcement of selecting the vehicle. It is understood that, in a second phase, three additional VN16s will be purchased in the fiscal year 2022 if the project is not cut from the defense budget due to the Covid-19 epidemic.
According to the plan to restructure the new Marine Corps Command, the VN16s will form the new main force of the Marine Tank Company, Marine Armored Amphibian Vehicle Battalion, Marine Division, RTMC, after the dissolution of the Marine Assault Amphibian Battalion and Marine Tank Battalion (the VN16 have the same camouflage pattern as the US-made AAV7A1s),.
The VN16 is the export version of the ZTD-05 in service with the People's Liberation Army Marine Corps (PLAMC). The Royal Thai Marine Corps is the second export customer for the VN16, following the Venezuelan Marine Corps, supplied with the VN18 amphibious infantry combat vehicle, the export version of the ZBD-05 amphibious infantry combat vehicle in service with the Chinese Marine Corps.