Royal Thai Marine Corps ramps up 8×8 amphibious vehicle testing

DTI Black Widow Spider 8×8 (BWS 8×8) Wheeled Armoured Combat Vehicle (Photo: Defence Technology Institute)

Thailand’s state-owned research and development agency Defence Technology Institute (DTI) has delivered an undisclosed number of 8×8 amphibious armoured personnel carriers to the Royal Thai Marine Corps (RTMC), the organisation revealed in a social media post on 19 May.

DTI stated that the vehicles, designated Sea Tigers, were handed over during the RTMC’s Combined Arms Live Fire Exercise (CALFEX) at a Royal Thai Navy (RTN) base in Ban Chanthaklem in Chanthaburi’s Khao Kitchakut district.

The 7.3 metre-long Sea Tiger is designed and developed by DTI and manufactured by local company Cho Thavee, with production commencing around 2020 following several years of testing by DTI and the RTMC. It is based on DTI’s Black Widow Spider platform, which was understood to be a joint development with Singapore’s ST Engineering to produce an 8×8 vehicle for the Royal Thai Army (RTA).

In July 2020, a Black Widow Spider vehicle was delivered to the RTA’s Thanarach Infantry Centre for further testing, although it is not known if the vehicle was eventually selected by the service.

DTI stated that the Sea Tiger has a combat weight of 23.2 tonnes and can accommodate up to 14 personnel.

The RTMC had earlier in May taken delivery of two 8×8 R600 amphibious armoured vehicles developed by Thai automotive company Panus Assembly. Ordered in September 2021, the two vehicles were reportedly acquired at a cost of around US$2.8 million.

According to company specifications, the 8.4 metre-long R600 has a weight of approximately 25 tonnes and can accommodate up to 22 personnel.

The RTMC currently operates a dwindling fleet of upgraded by ageing fleet of US-made AAV7A1 tracked amphibious vehicles.

by Jr Ng