The first batch of the VT4 main battle tanks, ordered by the Royal Thai Army, have made their public debut during a capability demonstration and exhibition of Chinese domestically developed arms at a shooting range in the Inner Mongolia autonomous region on Wednesday morning.
The Royal Thai Army has ordered 38 VT4 main battle tanks, equipped with turbocharged diesel developing 1,200hp coupled to an automatic transmission, from China North Industries Group Corporation (NORINCO Group). With a combat weight of 52 tonnes, the VT4 has a power-to-weight ratio of more than 23hp/tonne.
The VT4 is armed with a 125mm smoothbore gun and fitted with an automatic loader. Secondary armament of VT4 consists of coaxial 7.62-mm machine gun and remote-controlled 12.7mm MG operated by the tank commander.
The first batch of 28 tanks is expected to be delivered in this year, said General Chalermchai Sitthisart, Commander-in-Chief, Royal Thai Army.
China has made significant strides and already exported 461 tanks between 1992 and 2014, according to the United Nations Register of Conventional Arms, which began recording conventional weapons transfers between UN members in 1992. The biggest tank exporter during the period was the United States, which reported sales of 5,511 tanks.