Thailand Travellings of Ukrainian Tanks “Oplot”
Finally, state concern " Ukroboronprom " announced that they were at the final stage of negotiation with Thailand – "Ukroboronprom" is at the completion of the contract with Thailand for the delivery of the “Oplot” tanks. Such a state of affairs is a sign of great success for Ukraine, particularly Ukrainian production.
It is worth to admit that the contract was executed in spite of difficulties and complications, which had been provided by the Russian Federation. Such a statement was pronounced by the company's general director Pavel Bukin, who admitted that the last batch of combat vehicles successfully passed with the witness of customers. In the near future, these tanks will be sent to the country of deployment. It was also added that the concern will completely switch to the production of "Oplot" tanks for the needs of the Armed Forces of Ukraine.
The Story of Success
The contract worth more than $ 240 million for the delivery of 49 Ukrainian tanks "Oplot" to Thailand was concluded in 2011. However, "Malyshev’s Plant" began to implement the contract only in April 2012. Tank “Oplot” is the main Ukrainian battle tank, which is characterized by many advantages including high specific figures for the engine's liters and overall engine power, modern automatic transmission, the ability to force water obstacles up to 5 meters, etc. The tank has a classic design and the control section is located in its frontal part. The combat compartment is located in the middle part of the tank and the engine-transmission compartment is in the aft part. Just like a T-84 tank, the "Oplot" tank is equipped with a loading device. Therefore, it has led to an opportunity to place a crew of three people including a driver, a gunner, and a commander. The commander of the tank has his seat on the right, and the gunner is on the left, each of them has a hatch for landing / disembarking. That is why this tank has become of great interest for Thailand that has led to the drafting of a contract with a goal of delivering Ukrainian tanks.
In January 2017, there was a real “bomb” for the press. There were rumors that commander-in-chief of Thailand's armed forces, Chalermchai Sittisata, announced that Bangkok could abandon Ukrainian tanks because of a delay in the completion of the contract. Hereby, there were delivered only 5 tanks within 3 years, so the Chinese VT-4 would be bought instead of the "Oplot". At the same time, the general said that the problem with supply arose in connection with the difficult internal political situation in Ukraine.
According to the Interfax Ukraine, Ukraine provided the third batch of new tanks "Oplot" consisting of 10 vehicles to Thailand in May 2016. Thus, the total number of “Oplot” tanks in the Thai army was brought to 20 units.
As Pavlo Bukin emphasized, the contract was carried out despite the unfair competition and military aggression of Russia. Under the conditions of Russian aggression in 2014, Ukraine had to suspend a number of export contracts for the supply of basic military equipment, which was shipped to the zone of military operations in Donbas. Deliveries were resumed in 2015-2016 owing to the planned increase in the production capacity of the enterprises of "Ukroboronprom." Ukraine is grateful to our strategic partners from Thailand for a wise understanding of the problems that Ukraine has faced. Moreover, the belief that Ukraine was able to overcome the artificial barriers triggered to work harder.
Obviously, the implementation of the "Thai contract" allowed Ukraine to receive foreign exchange earnings to the budget and load production capacity. The concern is glad to announce that it is going to produce tanks for Anti-terrorist operation. However, “Oplot” tanks require some updating, particularly the updating of particular components. After all, during the delivery of tanks to Thailand, important technological innovations have appeared in the world. At the same time, the Armed Forces and enterprise "Ukroboronprom" gained experience in the use of military equipment. Therefore, they are ready to implement these technological innovations, which are based on combat experience.
Works on the creation of new "Oplot" are made in accordance with the experimental design project, which is now agreed with the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine. These works are devoted to providing a significant modernization of T-64 tanks, which are operated in the Ukrainian army as well.
The achieved level of equipment will be further used for upgrading the T-64 tanks. Such unification will significantly reduce the cost of production of "Oplot" and the modernization of the T-64.
Ukraine is very proud of the achievements of domestic designers in creating the most modern combat vehicles that have excellent tactical and technical characteristics.
As it was noticed by the NSDC secretary, the Ukrainian armored school is one of the most powerful in the world, and new “Oplot” tanks are proof of that fact. Hope, we will provide more powerful vehicles in near future.