05 Januari 2013
T-84 Oplot main battle tank (photo : Militaryphotos)
Ukraine will deliver its first batch of T-84 Oplot main battle tanks to the army in May, army chief Prayuth Chan-ocha said yesterday.
Under the staggered delivery schedule, five of the tanks will be delivered in May, with another 50 tanks due by the end of 2015, he said. The army has ordered a total of 200 of the tanks.
During recent talks with the Ukraine government, Gen Prayuth said he had requested a speedier delivery of the battle tanks.
The first round of five tanks will be used for training purposes, he said.
Gen Prayuth said he had inspected an Oplot tank during a recent trip to Ukraine and believed the army was getting good value for money in terms of firepower and combat capabilities.
Most of the army's current armoured vehicles were purchased from Western countries, where prices were comparatively high, he said.
The procurement drew criticism from soldiers when the deal was announced in 2011. The Oplot tanks are equipped with an auto-loader that requires the tanks to stop moving when ammunition has been used up and new loading is necessary.
An army source told the Bangkok Post in 2011 that in a combat situation, tank crews generally prefer the relilability of a manual ammunition-loading system.