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  1. #1
    Thailand Expat tomcat's Avatar
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    If we can't buy subs, we'll make do with these...

    Thailand approves $414 million budget for fighter jets upgrade


    FILE PHOTO: Fighter jets fly during the annual Military Parade to celebrate the Coronation of King Rama X at the Royal Thai Army Cavalry Center in Saraburi province

    Wed, January 12, 2022, 5:04 PM

    BANGKOK (Reuters) - Thailand's cabinet has backed a plan to buy four fighter jets starting in the next fiscal year, an air force spokesman said on Wednesday, with a budget of 13.8 billion baht ($413.67 million) set aside for the procurement.

    The approval follows a recent expression of interest by the air force chief, Air Chief Marshal Napadej Dhupatemiya, in procuring eight F-35 fighter jets from Lockheed Martin Corp of the United States.

    The cabinet has agreed the budget for a four-year period starting in the 2023 fiscal year, to replace some of the country's aging F-16 jets, air force spokesman Air Vice Marshal Prapas Sornchaidee told reporters.

    Thailand's currently has 12 JAS-39 Gripen fighter jets made by Sweden's Saab and dozens of American F-16 and F-5 jets, some of which have been in operation since the late 1980s.

    Napadej last month expressed a preference for the stealthy, fifth-generation F-35 because its price had fallen since it first hit the market.
    The first F-35A cost $221 million in 2007 but as production quantities and know-how increased, the price fell Lockheed'''s F-35A could face first price rise in years as inflation bites | Reuters to about $79 million as of July last year as it gained appeal and buyers in more than a dozen countries.

    Spokesman Prapas said the type of aircraft to buy would be decided by two committees tasked with assessing the suitability of different aircraft.


    (Reporting by Panu Wongcha-um and Panarat Thepgumpanat; Editing by Martin Petty)
    Majestically enthroned amid the vulgar herd

  2. #2
    Thailand Expat harrybarracuda's Avatar
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    I wonder how much the skim is?

  3. #3
    Days Work Done! Norton's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tomcat View Post
    12 JAS-39 Gripen fighter jets
    The total price tag for the 12 multi-role Gripen fighters was 34.4 billion baht.
    Quote Originally Posted by harrybarracuda View Post
    I wonder how much the skim is?
    20% give or take in perks and "agent fees". Leave the math to you Harry.

    SOP so expect the F35 to be about the same.

  4. #4
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    Troy's Avatar
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    Will be interesting to find out how they will be maintained. I can think of several cheaper alternatives that would be more suitable and easier to maintain.

  5. #5
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    malmomike77's Avatar
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    ^ yep, they don't have a serious air force so they should be aiming for a much cheaper deterrent role

  6. #6
    Days Work Done! Norton's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Troy View Post
    Will be interesting to find out how they will be maintained. I can think of several cheaper alternatives that would be more suitable and easier to maintain.
    A sizable chunk of the contract price will be a logistics support package. It will include training, initial spares and logistics support training. I can make a call and verify but sure this is a Foriegn Military Sale (government to government). As such trainers from the US will be sent here to train and some Thai AF folks will go to US for training. This of course will include pilot training as well.

    Same process as the quite successful Thai F-16 program.

    Quote Originally Posted by malmomike77 View Post
    they don't have a serious air force so they should be aiming for a much cheaper deterrent role
    Interesting statement. My experience with the RTAF indicates they are very serious, professional and dedicated however I do agree less costly alternatives should have been considered.

    With most smaller nations such as Thailand there is a healthy dose of status in buying a "luxury" fighter.
    Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Norton View Post
    Interesting statement. My experience with the RTAF indicates they are very serious, professional and dedicated however I do agree less costly alternatives should have been considered.
    Probably my wording Norts, i didn't mean unprofessional, i meant as a threat.

  8. #8
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    david44's Avatar
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    If are deep throated you like a long un with nuclear powers go for a

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    Thailand Expat tomcat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Norton View Post
    I do agree less costly alternatives should have been considered.
    ...less costly alternatives mean a smaller skim, n'est-ce pas?...

  10. #10
    Days Work Done! Norton's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tomcat View Post
    ...less costly alternatives mean a smaller skim, n'est-ce pas?...
    Not necessarily. Buying cheap junk from a dodgey source at a much higher % back hander will give purchaser more bang for the baht. Thai army expert in this method.

  11. #11
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    DrWilly's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tomcat View Post
    ...less costly alternatives mean a smaller skim, n'est-ce pas?...

    Volume over quality…

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by tomcat View Post
    ...less costly alternatives mean a smaller skim, n'est-ce pas?...
    Not really...

    ...but I was more concerned about the maintenance and logistics setup for such a small number of aircraft. It might be that major overhauls are carried out by the US overseas as part of the contract. I would also question the avionics fit, especially radar and weapons, which I would expect to be downgraded.

    However, keeping close ties with the US is a good thing all round so I expect they'll get a reasonable deal.

  13. #13
    Days Work Done! Norton's Avatar
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    Troy, I was heavily involved in this program so although the F 35 initial procurement is smaller than the F 16 will likely be very similar.

    F-16 Air Forces - Thailand

    Quote Originally Posted by Troy View Post
    However, keeping close ties with the US is a good thing all round so I expect they'll get a reasonable deal.
    It is and Joint US Military Advisory Group Thailand (JUSMAGTHAI) will coordinate and facilitate the entire program which will take several years.

    Joint US Military Advisory Group Thailand (JUSMAGTHAI) - U.S. Embassy & Consulate in Thailand

  14. #14
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    The F35 is pretty much three times more expensive to fly per hour than other competitors. The $85 million tag is quite misleading and in the end this deal will cost the Thai taxpayer more than if it chose another more suitable plane - quite why the RTAF requires a stealth capability is frankly incomprehensible. In fact it is a daft idea and as silly as those subs. It's only likely enemy justifying such an order is China and they're already in bed with them.

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