The BangkokPost reported that a fleet of 15 locally made mine-resistant ambush protected (MRAP) vehicles was handed over to Bhutan. The vehicles will reportedly be used under the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission (MINUSCA) at Central African Republic and elsewhere around the world. Chaichan Changmongkol, deputy minister of defence, presided over the handing over of 15 First Win 4×4 vehicles made by Chaiseri Metal & Rubber Co to the Bhutanese government during a ceremony at the permanent secretary for defence’s office in Nonthaburi. Kinzang Dorji, ambassador of Bhutan, was also present at the ceremony.
During the ceremony, Gen Chaichan said Thailand and Bhutan have maintained good relations, adding the handover of the locally made vehicles means that Thailand will also be involved in the UN mission. He said the government has a policy to develop the local defence industry to achieve self-reliance in this sector and export locally made military equipment. The Bhutanese government decided to buy the armoured vehicles from the company because it was confident in the quality of the products and the company’s capabilities, adding they come with an affordable price tag. The 15 mine-resistant ambush protected vehicles cost 225 million baht in total or about 15 million baht each.
First Win is a MRAP vehicle with an all-welded steel monocoque V-hull that provides high level protection against a variety of battlefield threats, including mines and improvised explosive devices. Gross vehicle weight is about nine tonnes and it can carry up to 10 troops plus driver. The Royal Thai Armed Forces announced a first batch order of First Wins in 2014. Chaiseri hopes to export the First Win to foreign customers. 20 in service with Malaysian Army from 200 planned. The remaining vehicles will be produced under licence by Malaysia with designation of the vehicle was AV4 Lipanbara. Unknown number in service with Indonesian Army, first unveiled at Indonesian Army Anniversary 2019.
The First Win is powered by a Cummins diesel engine (300HP in the original configuration, 250HP in the E version) coupled with an Allison 3000 SP automatic transmission (Allison 2500 SP in the E version., providing maximum road speed of up to 100 km/h. The vehicle comes standard with powered steering, independent suspensions and run-flat tyres. Ballistic protection is up to STANAG 4569 Level 2 and mine protection to Level 3B under the hull centre and Level 4A under any station. A 7.62mm or .50 machine gun can be mounted on the roof, while firing ports allow use of small arms from inside. Remote Weapon System can also be installed upon requirement.