Thailand’s Defence Technology Institute seeks defense exports growth


Thailand’s research and development agency Defence Technology Institute (DTI) is inviting proposals for business partners for the joint development and production of offshore patrol vehicles (OPVs) and 4×4 wheeled light tactical vehicles (LTVs) to improve domestic capabilities and provide the necessary support and backing to the domestic companies while seeking to boost defense exports, says GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company.

GlobalData estimates the global light multirole vehicle market to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 2.25%, from US$5.039bn in 2020 to US$6.295bn in 2030.

Mathew George, Ph.D., Aerospace & Defense Analyst at GlobalData: “Set up to promote the systematic development of defense technology in the country, DTI had recently announced a pre-qualification briefing for proposals for four programs that included the OPVs and 4×4 wheeled light tactical vehicles. The others were for the development of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and weapons and ammunitions. With the recent release of further information regarding these two programs, DTI has given a glimpse into those factors that have encouraged it to explore these joint ventures.”

The OPV program seems to have been influenced by the Filipino governments’ interest in a government to government deal for the acquisition of 6 OPVs for the Philippine Navy amounting to US$600m. The exact nature of the program is unknown as DTI had signed a memorandum of understanding with truck trailer manufacturing company Cho Thevee earlier this year for the development of an Offshore Patrol Vessel Project Management System. However, considering the requirements of the entities, this may be for a shipbuilder. On the other hand, DTI views LTVs to have a large market both domestically and internationally.

DTI’s goals are not just to focus on the growing market and develop the necessary production in Thailand. It is relying on an experienced local shipbuilding industry, having already supplied OPVs to the Royal Thai Navy (RTN) to offer countries a local, reliable counteroffer to other regional and global players. It is also touting that the RTN is considering further OPVs from its domestic shipbuilder. This not only ensures that DTI grows as an organization but helps local industry and economy with growth and stability. For the LTV program, it is banking on its own expertise with large wheeled vehicles and what the DTI can bring to the table with a trusted partner to break in to the global LMV market.

George concludes: “Since the program is going to make use of the already existing, experienced entities in the market, the final result should not have the long lead times usually seen when having to develop the products from scratch. It will be interesting to see if DTI’s offering will be welcomed by the market and how much of an impact this will make. However, a sturdy, trusted platform and the guarantees that come with government to government sales would give a fillip to deals from these programs.”