DTI leverages on the ‘power of partnership’ for capability development

Tiger 4x4 MRAP vehicle
Tiger 4x4 MRAP vehicle

The Thai Defence Technology Institute (DTI) took the opportunity at the Defense & Security 2022 exhibition to unveil a range of new combat vehicles that are being jointly developed with domestic and international partners to address Thai and regional military requirements.

DTI and privately owned Thai vehicle specialist Chaiseri have jointly developed the D-Tiger 4×4 tactical vehicle. The 12-tonne vehicle is derived from Chaiseri’s First Win multi-purpose vehicle (MPV) and is the first platform to be developed under a joint venture (JV) firm named Thai Defense Industry (TDI), which was established by DTI and Chaiseri earlier in 2022.

Like the First Win MPV, the prototype D-Tiger features a V-shaped monocoque steel hull but incorporates more indigenous components and subsystems. The vehicle is powered by 300hp Cummins engine, which enables it to achieve a maximum on-road speed of 110 km/h.

According to TDI, the D-Tiger is being developed with an eye on the export market. The Philippines appears to be a front runner for a mine-resistant ambush-protected (MRAP) variant of the new vehicle, having entered a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Thailand to boost defence industrial co-operation in March.

Another 4×4 protected vehicle development – called the D-Lion – is also underway under a tripartite effort between DTI, local firm Jatunapas, and South Africa’s Paramount Group. A locally built prototype based on the latter’s 16-tonne Mbombe 4 MRAP platform was also showcased.

Lion 4x4 MRAP vehicle
Lion 4×4 MRAP vehicle

A spokesperson told AMR that the vehicle is being developed under a research MoU for the Royal Thai Armed Forces’ Counter Terrorism Operations Center (CTOC) and is being prepared by DTI in anticipation for user trials later this year. The MoU calls for several variants of the vehicle, such as protected mobility and reconnaissance.

Jatunapas plans to manufacture the vehicle using locally made components and equipment should it be selected. The baseline Mbombe 4 has a payload capacity of 2.3 tonnes, an operating range of 800 km, and a top speed of 140 km/h.

Finally, DTI is partnering with the Royal Thai Navy’s Naval Research and Development Office (NRDO) and Israel’s Elbit Systems to develop a localised version of the latter’s multi-calibre Precise and Universal Launching System (PULS) called the D11A Multi-Purpose Rocket and Missile Launcher.

According to DTI, the D11A system is being positioned to meet a coastal artillery requirement. The first locally built prototype, which was unveiled at the exhibition for the first time, is based on a 10-tonne Tatra 6×6 truck and has been in development since 2019 although work had been disrupted by the Covid-19 pandemic, but restarted earlier 2022.

D11A multiple rocket launcher system
D11A multiple rocket launcher system

The prototype vehicle was also seen configured with a PULS launcher armed with a four-round pod of 306 mm EXTended Range Artillery (EXTRA) rockets that can engage targets out to 150 km as well as a 20-tube launcher for 122 mm AccuLAR 122mm guided rockets with a 40 km range. Other munitions compatible with the PULs are 160 mm AccuLAR guided rockets and the 306 mm Predator Hawk, which has a range up to 300 km.

Trials of the prototype D11A system are expected to commence later this year, and DTI plans to certify the launcher and begin production in 2023. DTI had successfully partnered with Elbit System to develop the Autonomous Truck-Mounted Mortar (ATMM) using its Spear 120 mm mortar system, as well as the Autonomous Truck-Mounted Gun (ATMG) featuring its ATMOS 155 mm/52-calibre self-propelled howitzer.

Local manufacture of the mortar and artillery gun systems is undertaken by the Artillery and Mortar Production Division of the Royal Thai Army’s Weapon Production Centre (WPC) based in Lopburi in central Thailand.

by Jr Ng