Ukrainian state-run arms exporter Ukrspetsexport has handed over the initial batch of five Oplot-M main battle tanks (MBT) under contract to the Royal Thai Army (RTA).
Initially delivered to the Port of Sattahip, Thailand, the tanks are scheduled to undergo final acceptance trials at an undisclosed location prior to induction into the army’s inventory.
The technical acceptance certificate for the first batch of Oplot MBTs was signed by Ukrspecexport and the Royal Thai Army representatives in Kharkov, Ukraine, in November 2013.
Around 49 Oplot tanks were ordered by RTA’s operational command from Ukrspecexport under a $200m contract in September 2011.
Designed by Kharkiv Morozov Machine Building Design Bureau (KMDB) on the basis of the Ukrainian T-84 tank, and built by Kharkiv Malyshev Plant (KMP), the Oplot MBT is designed to destroy ground-based and low-flying, low-speed aerial targets, while offering superior protection and high mobility for soldiers.
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Also called BM Oplot, the Oplot-M is an upgraded version of Oplot, having a conventional layout with the driver’s compartment at the front, fighting compartment in the middle and engine at the rear, and can accommodate a crew of three members.
The 51t tank features more improved armour and various upgraded electronics than its predecessor, such as new electronic countermeasure systems, and PNK-6 panoramic tank sight, and will replace RTA’s M41 Walker Bulldog tank fleet, as reported earlier by IHS Janes.
The tanks are scheduled to be based in RTA cavalry divisions in Bangkok, the north-eastern province of Nakhon Ratchasima, the northern province of Phitsanulok, as well as in Nakhon Si Thammarat in the south, according to the news agency.
Image: an Oplot-M main battle tank arrive in Thailand. Photo: courtesy of Ukrspecexport.