A photo published in Thai social media on May 28, 2021 shows an Amphibious Light Tank or Amphibious Assault Vessel (AAV) model Norinco VN16, total 3 vehicles were shipped by cargo ship from China to Thailand. The Thai military blog, AAGTH report that the vehicle has a camouflage pattern of the Royal Thai Marine Corps which is probably the port of Sattahip Naval Base. The amphibious assault vehicle VN16 will be the new main force of Marine Tank Company, Marine Armored Amphibian Vehicle Battalion, Marine Division, Royal Thai Marine Corps.
The VN16 is an export version of an amphibious light tank ZTD-05 stationed in the People’s Liberation Army Navy Marine Corps (PLAMC) designed and manufactured by NORINCO, a Chinese defence industry enterprise. The VN16 Amphibious Assault Vehicle armed with a 105mm low-recoil rifled gun, a 7.62mm coaxial machinegun, QJC-88 12.7mm anti-aircraft machinegun and banks of 76 mm grenade launchers. The VN16 has been compared to the cancelled United States Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle (EFV) program.
The Royal Thai Marine Corps is the second export customer for the VN16, following the Venezuelan Bolivarian Marine Corps, supplied with the VN18 Amphibious Infantry Fighting Vehicle, the export version of the Type 05 (ZTD-05) Amphibious Assault Vehicle that the Chinese Marines have. Which the Marine Corps Royal Thai Navy there has been a need for a new tank to replace five Type 69-II main tanks long after it was unable to supply 15 LT-105 ASCOD light tanks from Spain in the 1990s due to defense budget cuts due to the economic crisis in 1997.
The Thai government’s public procurement service said in a notice on 10 September 2020 that Norinco has been selected by the Royal Thai Navy for the acquisition, with a bid price of THB398.1 million (USD13 million). The vehicles Procured from local company Chankasem International, which will act as an importer. The service did not confirm the platform type. However, this is understood to be the VN-16, which Norinco displayed in model form at the Defence and Security defence exhibition in Bangkok in late 2019.