Thailand chooses Chinese-made VN16 105mm amphibious light tank for its Marine Forces

The Chinese-made VN16, the future 105mm amphibious light tank, and the backbone of the Thai Marine Forces. The vehicle will be deployed on the Type 071E LPD (Landing Platform Dock). In September 2019, Thailand has signed a contract with China for the purchase of one Type 071E, built by the China State Shipbuilding Corporation (CSSC).
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Chinese-made VN16 105mm light amphibious tank at Air Show China, November 2016. (Picture source Army Recognition)

In June 20020, we have published an article to announce that the Royal Thai Navy has provided a budget for 3 Amphibious Assault Vehicles in the framework of a first acquisition phase, worth 405 million baht.

The VN16 which is the export version of the Chinese made ZTD-05, an amphibious light tank designed and manufactured in China by NORINCO, especially for naval infantry units.

The main armament of the VN16 consists of one a fully-stabilized 105mm rifled gun, similar to that found on the ZTS63A amphibious tank. The gun can fire the armor-piercing fin-stabilized discarding sabot (APFSDS), high explosive (HE), and high-explosive anti-tank (HEAT) rounds, and the Chinese indigenous 105mm gun-fired laser beam riding guidance anti-tank guided missile (ATGM) derived from the Russian 9M117 Bastion technology.

The VN16 has a crew of four, including commander, driver, gunner, and loader. The commander and gunner are seated in the left part of the turret while the loader is located to the right side.

The VN16 has all-welded armor over the hull and turret, providing protection against 25-mm armor-piercing rounds over the frontal arc and all-round protection against 7.62-mm armor-piercing rounds.

Standard equipment of the VN16 includes a computerized fire-control system, laser range finder, and passive night vision. It is also fitted with a GPS navigation system and image-intensifier night vision or thermal imaging system. The ZBD-05 is fully amphibious, and the vehicle is propelled by two large water jets mounted to the rear side of the hull, at a maximum speed of 28 km/h.