Armored personnel carrier costs

21 09 2010

A regular reader has contributed this post for PPT.

Ukrainian BTR-3

Thailand reportedly plans to buy a further 100 or so BTR-3 armoured personnel carriers from Ukraine with a budget of 4.6 billion baht which equals $149 million, or $1.49 million a piece. There have been suggestions the purchase price has been inflated by corruption in the purchasing process. Of course, because of the long history of corruption associated with the military’s purchases, such suspicions are always there.

A brief survey of the web does not bring to light a list price for a BTR-3.

This APC is a derivative of a Soviet design with roots in the 1960s and 70s. That might suggest the price could be quite low. On the other hand if it has been upgraded with advanced alloys and other materials to increase its survivability on the battlefield then the price may be quite high. It is unclear if the Thai order includes the optional Kevlar  liner to further increase protection for troops riding in the vehicle.

Russian BTR-80

The original choice of Deutz engines from Germany fell foul of export restrictions.

The price indicated by the Thai budget bears comparison with prices for other armoured vehicles. A T80U main battle tank, designed by the Soviet Union, can sell for $2.2 million. This tank has advanced alloys and other armour. It is also substantially larger than the 8-wheeled BTR-3 and uses caterpillar tracks which are usually more expensive than wheels. The price may also vary depending on the choice of sensors and main gun sights, electronics and engine.

A BTR-82 APC, also a Soviet design of which the BTR-3 may be a derivative (the design is almost the same and the base dimensions are exactly the same), is estimated to cost $0.5 million by a contributor to a Russian chat room. The credibility of this is completely open to question, but in the absence of harder figures regarding the BTR-3 it is of some interest.

A Stryker wheeled armoured personnel carrier, one of the latest designs to enter service with the American army, costs $1.42 million. The Stryker was designed to maximize protection while reducing weight to improve portability by air. Troops found its armour inadequate against mines using shaped charges planted by militias in Iraq.

A Canadian LAV-25 wheeled armoured personnel carrier, used by American marines, costs $0.9 million. These vehicles are in a similar class in terms of weight and troop transport to the BTR-3. Whether they are comparable in terms of performance is harder to say.

Even allowing for lower unit prices arising from the scale of orders by the American government the prices of these vehicles may suggest the price being paid by the Thais for the Ukranian vehicles is high, and more so when compared to the speculated price for a BTR-82. The Thai price also looks expensive when compared to the price of a T80U main battle tank, a class of vehicles not currently found in the Thai inventory despite neighbours having such tanks.

PPT leaves it to readers to draw their own suspicions regarding whether Thai taxpayers are getting value for money or being led up the garden path, once again. Recall also that there has been no parliamentary scrutiny of any of the changes made by the army to the specifications and power train associated with the purchase.


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21 09 2010
Tweets that mention Armored personnel carrier costs « Political Prisoners in Thailand -- Topsy.com

[…] This post was mentioned on Twitter by tri kanchanadul and อิสระภาพ แห่งข่าวสาร, NEWSpace. NEWSpace said: Armored personnel carrier costs: A regular reader has contributed this post for PPT. Ukrainian BTR-3 Thailand rep… http://bit.ly/9oAoIs […]

5 01 2013
Army and Ukraine purchases « Political Prisoners in Thailand

[…] ordered in 2007.” The story on the APCs became a long one. As might be expected, there were questions regarding cost and possible corruption and commissions and the billions shoveled to the military by the Abhisit […]

5 01 2013
Army and Ukraine purchases « Political Prisoners of Thailand

[…] ordered in 2007.” The story on the APCs became a long one. As might be expected, there were questions regarding cost and possible corruption and commissions and the billions shoveled to the military by the Abhisit […]




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