VN16 Amphibious Light Tank
VN16 Amphibious Light Tank

Royal Thai Marine Corps to Procures Chinese VN-16/18 Amphibious Assault Vehicles

The Royal Thai Navy provided budget for 3 Amphibious Fighting Vehicles, it is not yet known what type of vehicle it will be. But expected to be a Chinese VN-16/18 vehicle with news that the Royal Thai Marine Corps has been interested in procuring for a long time. The Type 05 amphibious armored vehicleis a family of amphibious tracked armored fighting vehicles developed by Norinco for the People’s Liberation Army Navy Marine Corps, consisting of two main combat variants — the VN16 amphibious light tank and the VN18 amphibious infantry fighting vehicle, as well as two support variants based on the ZBD-05.

The VN16 amphibious light tank is similar to the U.S. Expeditionary Fight Vehicle (EFV) in concept, though the former is fitted with heavier armour protection. The vehicle was designed to be launched at sea, from an amphibious assault ship 10km or more offshore, capable of high-speed (>25 knots) travelling to shore. Because the vehicle can swim for a relatively long distance, the threats of enemy mines and shore defences faced by the amphibious assault ship is reduced significantly. Like the EFV, the ZBD2000 uses a planning hull propelled by two water jets. The VN16 is especially proper to fulfill the offensive tasks of island landing, field opening and consolidating, as well as defensive anti-landing operations.

The VN16 equipped with a 105mm low recoil tank gun, VN16 is capable of destroying enemy combatants, armor targets and fortified structures at 2000 meters. Integrated with director-type fire control system, VN16 can shoot at moving targets, when it is moving on land or in the status of class 3 sea conditions. Secondary weapons for both variants include a 7.62mm coaxial mounted machine gun, a 12.7mm anti-aircraft machine gun mounted on the roof of the turret near the loader, and 2 sets of 4-barrel smoke grenade launchers mounted on either side of the turret. The rear part of the turret has a storage rack for additional equipment which also provides additional protection against HEAT rounds.

The VN18 amphibious infantry fighting vehicle shares the same hull, but replaces the 3-man 105mm rifled gun with a 2-man 30mm ZPT-99 30mm autocannon, turret with a HJ-73C Anti-tank guided missile (ATGM) rail launcher positioned on the roof of the turret, and a 7.62mm coaxial mounted machine gun. The vehicle is operated by a crew of 4, with the driver positioned front-left of the turret, and loader, gunner, and commander occupying the turret. The vehicle has a crew of 3 and can carry 7-8 (Squad) armed soldiers in its passenger compartment in the rear. The 30mm cannon isn’t present in any armoured vehicles within the PLA Marine Corps, indicating a possible brand new 30mm cannon design.

VN16 Amphibious Light Tank armed with a 105mm low-recoil rifled gun, a 7.62mm coaxial machinegun, and QJC-88 12.7mm anti-aircraft machinegun.