Gripen Or F-16 For Royal Thai Air Force


Gripen Or F-16 For Royal Thai Air Force

March 21,2024

Sweden’s Saab JAS 39 Gripen E and the United States’ Lockheed Martin F-16 Block 70 have both been shortlisted as the final candidates for the Royal Thai Air Force (RTAF), according to RTAF chief Air Chief Marshal Phanpakdee Pattanakul.

ACM Phanpakdee stated that due to the force’s initial plans for procuring the F-35 aircraft from Lockheed Martin being rejected, the RTAF has narrowed down the next candidates to the Gripen and F-16, both being models of aircraft presently in the RTAF inventory.

With a current composition of seven squadrons, the air force will reportedly decommission three fighter squadrons with 12 jets per squadron due to the increasingly untenable age of the aircraft. He added that the RTAF will have to replace those aircraft to maintain the exact fighter strength in order to not only facilitate training and operations, but to keep up with the number of fighter aircraft maintained by the kingdom’s neighbours. Furthermore, a committee to study on the feasibility of both platforms to attain the best value for money has already been established.

The RTAF reportedly requested an allocation of USD530 million in the 2025 fiscal year to purchase an initial batch of four new fighter aircraft. Should the request be approved by the Thai cabinet, the plan will be set in motion between May and June of this year.

In another development, the United Kingdom is reportedly supporting Saab in its pitch to sell the Gripen E to Thailand, as Britain’s Foreign Secretary, David Cameron posted a picture of himself with an RTAF Gripen during his recent trip to Thailand, invoking a response from Saab’s official social media stating “Sweden and the UK stand side-by-side in offering the very best future fighter capability for the Royal Thai Air Force.” The British and Swedish governments previously agreed to work together on promoting international sales of the Gripen in October last year. -shp/adj/dl (Pix:USAF)