The Royal Thai Army is likely to buy 37 ‘refurbished’ M1126 Stryker infantry combat vehicles for $80 million from the US, scrapping its earlier intention of buying Chinese-made VN1 armoured personnel carriers, according to a report published Tuesday.
“It was earlier expected that the Thai army might purchase Chinese VN1 armoured personnel carriers, but army chief Apirat Kongsompong managed to secure a deal with the US,” Bangkok Post reported quoting a source from the army as saying.
"Thailand is the first country the US has sold [the Strykers] to," the source added.
The US is expected to give 23 additional vehicles for free taking the total to 60. The programme is expected to progress through the US Foreign Military Sales (FMS) mechanism, with the first batch of Stryker ICVs delivered by late 2019. The Strykers will be sent to the Chachoengsao-based 11th Infantry Division.
The contract includes communication systems as well as weapons, the hangar, practice field development, spare parts and maintenance.
The M1126 Stryker is a family of eight-wheel-drive combat vehicles that can travel at speeds up to 62 mph on highways, with a range of 312 miles.
The medium-weight vehicle is expected to be used by the US Army until 2030, the report stated further.
Stryker vehicle configurations include the nuclear, chemical and biological reconnaissance vehicle; anti-tank guided missile and medical evacuation vehicles; and carriers for mortars, engineer squads, infantry squads, command groups, and fire support teams.