DSA 2018: Thailand toys with Transformers
The TR Transformer II 4x4 pickup passenger vehicle (PPV) is now being acquired by the Royal Thai Armed Forces, with an example appearing at Exercise Cobra Gold 2018 in Thailand in February.
The TR Transformer II, produced by Thai Rung Union Car, utilises the chassis of the Toyota Hilux Revo. So far, the Thai military has acquired a number of Transformer I and II vehicles to replace ageing M151 4x4 vehicles.
Production of the Transformer I began in 2011, while the commercial Transformer II appeared in 2015. Such locally produced vehicles have a lower price than imported units (at THB1,635,000 or $54,500 each), and the Royal Thai Armed Forces currently have more than 1,000 PPVs from various companies in service.
Its engine is a 177hp Toyota 1GD-FTV 16-valve unit that displaces 2,755cc with turbo and intercooler. The TR Transformer II iMT version used by the military has a 6-speed manual gearbox, and it can reach a maximum speed of 160km/h.
The air-conditioned vehicle weighs 2,070kg, and an 80-litre fuel capacity gives a 726km range. It can seat from 5-11 passengers.
The multipurpose TR Transformer II can be modified for explosive ordnance disposal, communications, UAV operators, field medical functions, search and rescue or VIP transport.
Since the Transformer II uses a commercial chassis and engine, it is easily maintained at any Toyota service centre in Thailand.
Thai Rung Union Car has sold more than 400 PPVs to civilian and military users in Thailand, and it has begun exports to ASEAN. Malaysia and Sri Lanka have bought about 200 units, plus a prototype was sent to Singapore for evaluations. The latter requires about 1,000 units of this type of vehicle, and a competition will begin this year.
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