Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Peru to buy MBT-2000 tanks from China

Peru close to a deal with China to buy military tanks, says Defense Minister

Five MBT-2000 tanks made in China started yesterday's Military Parade, led by the Army General (EP) Richard Pitot Guzman.

The MBT-2000 is one of the models that Peruvian Army is testing with the aim of replacing the old T-55 bought from the former USSR during the 60s and 70s; but it was reported that another three models are currently under evaluation.

However, the MBT-2000s that participated in the parade were decorated with all the General Pitot's military insignias, and this fact has created a great controversy in Peru.

While the Army states that the technical evaluations are not over yet and that the presence of these tanks was only “part of an exhibition,” Defense Minister Rafael Rey says that the Government “is close to a deal" to buy an undetermined number of tanks from China.

But the controversy is just starting. According to La Republica, these tanks have already been tested in July, by a technical commission that traveled to China, and determined, in a report signed by General Jorge Vega Yáñez, that the tanks did not meet all the specialized requirements; especially in regards to defeating the Chilean Leopard 2A4, as well as shooting 125mm missiles.

Norinco, the manufacturer, was allegedly in conditions to meet all the Peruvian requirements, but in two years' time.

Rafael Rey said that Peru is purchasing these tanks because “our current operative tanks are in pretty bad conditions.”


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