YANGON – A Ukrainian military import/export agency and the Myanmar Army recently signed a joint venture agreement to construct an assembly plant to build armored personal carriers (APCs) and self-propelled howitzers by 2020.
Defense Blog reported on Wednesday that Great Export Import Company had confirmed an initial delivery of equipment and machinery for use in the plant.
Defense Blog published a list of items, including descriptions and value figures, imported by the Ukspecexport agency. The total value was more than US$4.2 million, or more than 6 billion kyats.
The list includes components for a production line to assemble BTR-4U eight-wheeled APCs and 2S1U self-propelled howitzers, based on the MT-LBu multi-purpose chassis. These are different from the BTR-3U eight-wheeled armored vehicles seen in military parades, combat drills and military blogs in Myanmar.
The Irrawaddy phoned Brigadier-General Zaw Min Tun, spokesman for the Office of the Commander-in-Chief, for comment on the Defense Blog report multiple times Thursday, but the calls went unanswered.
According to some Burmese-language military blogs, the Army used BTR-3U armored vehicle in Shan State’s Laukai in operations against the Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army (MNDAA) in 2016, alongside Chinese Type 92 light APCs. Some pro-military commenters said on Facebook that the BTR-4U is an upgraded version of the BTR-3U and can carry an additional eight soldiers.
The BTR-4U APC was launched in March 2014 by the Ukraine Army’s Kharkiv Morozov Machine Building Design Bureau. The vehicle is equipped with a 30mm cannon, coaxial machine gun (7.62mm) and four Konkurs or Baryer anti-tank (AT) missiles. It can also be armed with a 30mm automatic grenade launcher instead of two AT missiles.
Defense Blog reported in May 2016 that Myanmar bought 10 BTR-3Us from Ukraine in 2003 and that in 2010 the military began acquiring spare parts for the vehicles from Ukraine.
The Myanmar military has also bought about 20 Mi-17 helicopters in various versions since 1995. Since then the Ukraine Army has been supplying parts and training provided by foreign specialists for Myanmar. The Mi-17 chopper can carry up to 30 troops. They are used by the Myanmar military for transportation.
In January 2018 after a visit to Myanmar, Russian Deputy Defense Minister Lieutenant-General Alexander Fomin revealed that Myanmar planned to purchase six Sukhoi Su-30 twin-engine fighter aircraft. The Myanmar Army has never publicly announced what version of the Sukhoi SU-30 it plans to buy from Russia.