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04 Nov 13. Elbit Systems and Thailand’s military industrial complex are collaborating on the production of the Israeli company’s Autonomous Truck Mounted howitzer System (ATMOS) 155 mm self-propelled (SP) howitzer, it has emerged. The co-operation programme has been under way since 2012, and represents a major feature of the closer industrial ties between the two countries that is evident at the Defense and Security 2013 exhibition in Bangkok. Thailand is understood by IHS Jane’s to have ordered six ATMOS gun systems, although further orders are expected at a later date. Under the arrangement, Elbit is building the first platform in Israel while the latter five will be built, following technology transfer, by the Artillery and Mortar Production Division of the Royal Thai Army’s (RTA’s) Weapon Production Centre (WPC). The RTA is expected to take delivery of the Israeli-built system before the end of 2013 and the locally built platforms by 2015. Other collaboration programmes currently under way between the two countries are similarly focused on the Thai production of a range of materiel developed by, and purchased from, Israel Military Industries (IMI). (Source: Jane’s)

31 Oct 13. Hyundai Rotem confirms K2 MBT in-service date of 2016. Hyundai Rotem officials have confirmed that the K2 (Black Panther) main battle tank (MBT) is in series production but will only be handed over to the Republic of Korea Army (RoKA) in 2014. Speaking at the Seoul International Aerospace and Defense Exhibition (ADEX 2013), Lee Jeong-In, a chief research engineer at the company’s research and development centre, told IHS Jane’s that the RoKA had ordered 100 of the advanced MBTs with an in-service date scheduled for 2016. The company expects the RoKA to eventually order about 600 K2 MBTs, the first 100 of which will be fitted with the MTU 883 diesel/Renk automatic transmission power pack. (Source: Jane’s)

05 Nov 13. David Maynier, the Democratic Alliance (DA) Shadow Minister of Defence & Military Veterans, issued a statement on 4 November wherein he made it clear that he will request the Chairperson of the National Conventional Arms Control Committee (NCACC), Jeff Radebe, to launch an investigation into the export of Ratel infantry fighting vehicles (IFV) from South Africa. Maynier identified two areas of concern to be investigated: the possible illegal export of South African made Ratel armoured combat vehicles to Libya; and a comprehensive audit of all Ratel IFVs exported from South Africa. According to records of approved sales no approval was given for any sales of these items to Libya. However, news footage from July, August and September 2011 has emerged of Ratel IFVs in Libya. The pictures show converted Ratels, with the 20mm main weapon probably the coaxial 7.62mm machine gun removed. One Ratel was seen with a ZPU-1 14.5mm anti-aircraft machine gun mounted on top of it, and another with a 57mm multiple rocket pod from an aircraft mounted on top. Maynier attached a copy of the United Nations conventional arms register to his statement and this reflects that 423 Ratel IFVs were exported from South Africa between 2003 and 2012. (Source: African Armed Forces)

06 Nov 13. Thailand’s Defence Technology Institute partners with Ricardo on new 8×8 vehicle. The Defence Technology Institute (DTI) – the Thai ministry of defence’s research and development agency – will partner with Ricardo on the next phase of development of its Black Widow Spider 8×8 armoured vehicle programme in support of the Royal Thai Army. DTI was set up to develop Thailand’s defence technology capability and to help build the local defence industry; the Black Widow Spider represents its first major military vehicle programme. DTI and Ricardo have already completed the initial phase of technology develo

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