The VN16 Light Amphibious Tank of the Royal Thai Marine Corps is an export version of the Chinese ZTD-05, also known as the Type 05.

Thailand ordered three VN16 Light Amphibious Tank in June 2020, at a cost of approximately $13 million, and delivered in May 2021.

According to Thai media, recently the VN16s of the Marine Assault Amphibian Battalion demonstrated their sea combat capabilities along with 12 US-made AAV7A1 amphibious assault vehicles operated by the Royal Thai Marine Corps.

VN16 Light Amphibious Tank
VN16 Light Amphibious Tank

Thailand is the second customer of China’s Type 05, after Venezuela. Thailand has long needed a new tank to replace five obsolete Type 69-II main battle tanks. Expected in the near future Three Chinese VN16 amphibious assault vehicles will be deployed in the Tank Company, Amphibious Armored Battalion Marine Corps.

The VN16 is an export version of an amphibious light tank ZTD-05 stationed in the People’s Liberation Army Navy-Marine Corps designed and manufactured by NORINCO. The VN16 amphibious assault vehicle is armed with a 105mm low-recoil rifled gun, a 7.62mm coaxial machinegun, QJC-88 12.7mm anti-aircraft machinegun, and banks of 76 mm grenade launchers.

The ZTD-05 assault vehicle variant replaces the obsolete Type 63A amphibious tank introduced in the late 1990s. The VN16 has been compared to the canceled United States Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle program.

Accuracy and precision are attained by a computerized fire-control system, which includes a fire-control ballistic computer, laser rangefinder, two-plane stabilization, and daylight/infrared gunner sight with passive night vision channel. Commander has access to day/night independent thermal sight with hunter-killer capability.

The vehicle is fitted with battle management system, command and control system, digital map interface. All the necessary information is displayed on screens to the driver, commander, and gunner. ZTD-05 is equipped with laser designator for beam-riding SACLOS applications, and loader position is also fitted with an independent periscope.


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