The recent arrival of the M117 Stryker Armored Fighting Vehicle (AFV) into the Royal Thai Army (RTA) marks an import- ant upgrade to the capability of Thai land forces. The first batch of US Army Strykers were presented to the RTA in September, marking their entrance into the Thai land forces inventory.
Thailand is the first country outside the United States to operate the Stryker. Thailand will acquire a total of 60 Stryker infantry carrier vehicles with equipment and support for an estimated cost of US$175 million via the US Foreign Military Sales (FMS) route.
“These Strykers will not only enhance the RTA capacity, but will also act as a tangible symbol of friendship, and a witness to the cordial relations between two countries that continue to strengthen alliances and partnerships,” General Apirat Kongsompong, Commander-in-Chief of the RTA during the handover of the first batch of Stryker AFVs.
The new AFVs are an important step for the RTA’s modernization effort, and the development of RTA doctrine. The RTA’s Stryker Brigade Complex will be located at Chon Buri, a Royal Thai Army base about 55 miles southeast of Bangkok.
The Stryker AFV provides the RTA with a mix of capabilities including infantry transport and reconnaissance; all in a platform that has been combat-tested with significant survivability and capability. The 20 tonne eight-wheeled AFV, is derived from the Canadian Light Armored Vehicle III. Stryker vehicles are armed with M2 Flex .50 cal machine guns and will fill the capability void between light infantry soldiers and heavy mechanized units. The Stryker AFV can get up to speeds of about 80 miles per hour.
The US-Thailand alliance is the longest US treaty relationship in Asia. Thailand is a Non-NATO ally in INDO-PACOM. This alliance continues to be strengthened today through security cooperation events, military-to-military training events such as Cobra Gold and Hanuman Guardian, and the just concluded Indo- Pacific Armies Chiefs Conference and the Pacific Armies Management Seminar.
The Stryker fleet is considered the backbone of the US Army, with nearly 4,700 vehicles fielded. Two upgrades to the Stryker platform include the Infantry Carrier Vehicle –Dragoon (ICVD) equipped with an unmanned turret housing a 30mm cannon with enhanced optics, and the Common Remotely Operated Weapon System-Javelin (CROWS-J), Infantry and Recon Stryker variants with a mounted Javelin capability.
The US Army continues to modernize its Stryker fleet of vehicles through the introduction of the 30mm, up gunned Infantry Carrier Vehicle – Dragoon (ICVD), and the Double-V Hull A1 platform. The Stryker A1 eight-wheeled vehicle will feature vastly increased power, survivability and mobility, while providing extra stow- age and seating for nine soldiers, plus a 3-Soldier crew.
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