The Royal Thai Army is the sole operator of the US-made Stingray light tank.
In the early 1980s, the US Army launched a program to develop a weapon system for airborne units with three promising candidates: Stingray, M8 Buford and Expeditionary Tank. The program, known as the Armored Gun System, sought to replace the M551 Sheridan light tank. Unfortunately, all of these light tanks were not ordered.
Stingray tank was born in 1985, the product of Textron Marine & Land Systems (formerly Cadillac Gage) was the luckiest, when it found a place in the Royal Thai Army. They agreed to take delivery of 106 by 1988. Up to the present time, all 106 Stingrays are still in service of the Royal Thai Army.
Developed as a light tank for increased strategic and tactical mobility. This light tank is air transportable, such as the C-130 Hercules or similar cargo aircraft. Stingray weighs about 22.6 tons, has a length of 9.3 m, a width of 3 m, and a height of 2.7 m. The crew of 4 includes commander, driver, gunner, and loader. Gun and turret of the Stingray are similar to those of the Cadillac Gage V600 Commando fire support vehicle, which was also developed as a private venture in the early 1980s.
The Stingray has a 105 mm rifled gun. Secondary armament consists of coaxial 7.62 mm machine gun and 12.7 mm heavy machine gun, mounted on top of the roof. Optional equipment includes various radio and communications systems. It can also be fitted with a laser warning system and a system that enables Stingray to lay its own smoke screen by injecting diesel fuel into the exhaust outlet.
Stingray is equipped with a 535 hp diesel engine, for a maximum speed of up to 70 km / h, a range of 480 km. The Stingray is very lightly protected. While the turret is resistant to 14.5mm rounds, the hull is resistant only to 7.62 rounds, leaving the platform decidedly vulnerable to anything other than small arms fire.
Though unsuccessful in the United States, the Stingray found favor overseas, in Thailand. Less heavily armed and more lightly protected, light tanks have fallen out of favor with most countries. Though mobile, they often just can’t compete with the firepower provided by main battle tanks. Though they may be making a comeback.