The Royal Thai Army (RTA) has used the Defence and Security 2022 exhibition to showcase a wide range of internal initiatives aimed at reducing reliance on foreign supplies for some of its key functions.
Using precision manufacturing techniques provided by Fritz Werner, Germany, RTA’s Weapons Production Centre (WPC) produces a wide range of mortar and artillery ammunition types, including the 60mm High Explosive (HE) M261 and 81mm HE M262 mortar rounds, 120mm HE M293 mortar rounds, as well as 105mm HE M1 howitzer, 155mm M107 medium curved gun and 155mm HE Extended Range Base Deflate (ERFB-BB) and ERFB-Stern (ERFB-BT) rounds.
WPC also locally produces the 105mm High Explosive Squash Tip Tracer (HESH-T) M156 cartridge for the L7 or M68 guns. The propellants and charges for these mortars and artillery ammunition are also locally supplied by the RTA’s military explosives factory.
RTA has also started operating a new factory producing 5.56mm marbles. Located in the northeastern province of Nakhon Ratchasima, the production facility, valued at about $84 million, is being built with the support of China North Industries Corporation (NORINCO) and can produce about 50 million rounds of ammunition per year.
The new munitions manufacturing capability is a major part of the RTA’s efforts to establish self-reliance and improve the efficiency of producing and procuring critical defense equipment. The service used to rely heavily on imported ammunition from suppliers in China, India, Israel and Pakistan.
Meanwhile, the RTA’s Quartermaster Department is rolling out new individual field gear for troops, including new ballistic helmets and vests, load-bearing vests and utility belts, field bags and ammo pouches, and other accessories.
“Our Soldiers’ new range of field products are designed to replace aging equipment and are manufactured locally using modern materials and designed to be more ergonomic and durable,” an RTA spokesperson told AMR, noting that the new equipment is expected to launch in 2023. .
The Quartermaster has also developed a new mobile kitchen system based on a 4×4 all-wheel drive truck. Only recently entered service around early 2021, the Mobile Kitchen is a self-contained vehicle that can travel to harsh environments to feed troops and civilians.
“It is designed to support not only military training and field operations, but also humanitarian assistance and disaster relief (HADR) interventions, especially floods that are prevalent in Thailand,” the spokesperson explained, noting that the vehicle can wade through water up to 0.8 meters. Water reaches affected areas.
In addition to a large 105-liter pressure cooker that uses thermal oil heating technology to quickly prepare rice, the mobile kitchen is also equipped with three stoves, a refrigerator, and can carry up to 200 liters of fresh water. Four gas tanks provide the necessary fuel for the stove and can be easily replaced using a truck mounted gantry crane. All told, a well-stocked mobile kitchen system could potentially feed as many as 400 people.
“The mobile kitchen is capable of preparing nearly every imaginable Thai cuisine within minutes of being stopped and deployed,” the spokesperson said.
by Jr Ng