Procurement: Mobilizing The Museum


September 27, 2010: Cambodia recently received 50 Russian T-55 tanks and 44 BTR-60 wheeled armored personnel carriers. Both vehicle types were introduced in the 1950s. The BTR-60 is a ten ton vehicle with a crew of three and eight passengers. It has a small turret armed with a 14.5mm machine-gun. There is also a 7.62mm machine-gun. Over 27,000 were built, before production ended in the 1970s. The armor provides protection from most machine-gun bullets and shell fragments.

The T-55 is a 40 ton vehicle that was the ultimate development of the World War II T-34. Armed with a 100mm gun, as well as a 14.5mm and two 7.62mm machine-guns. Over 90,000 were produced (even more than the T-34) before production ended in the 1980s. The crew of four is not well protected from anti-tank weapons, and the 100mm gun is largely useless against modern tanks. But against civilians,  the T-55 has proved to be effective.

Cambodia is currently confronting Thailand over a border dispute, but the T-55 is not much help there. The Thais have superior U.S. M48 and M60 tanks. Cambodia already has over 200 T-54/55 tanks and over 200 BTR-60s. But these vehicles are old and worn out. The newly received vehicles were refurbished and have a lot of years left in them.



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