Flyin’ high with Gripen: RTAF eyes Swedish jets amidst F-35A snub

The Royal Thai Air Force (RTAF) is considering the acquisition of three Gripen jet fighters from Sweden, following the United States’ latest refusal to sell F-35A fighter jets. The plan is to add these jets to the RTAF fleet in Wing 7, situated in Surat Thani.
The RTAF Gripen fighters are an integral part of the nation’s air force, with 12 of those advanced Swedish jets at present stationed at Wing 7 in Surat Thani, however, with one plane having been previously lost in an accident. Each of the Swedish jets carries a price tag of approximately 2 billion baht.
Furthermore, Sweden is expected to replace a radar system utilized by the RTAF, which is predicted to cost round four billion baht. This system has been in service for a decade and is ready for an upgrade.
Massive to review and select suitable fighter plane for replacing Thailand’s F-16 fighter jets has not yet been formed by RTAF commander-in-chief ACM Alongkorn Wannarot. These planes have been in service for over three many years.
Despite the US making suggestions for the RTAF to acquire four.5-generation fighter jets, such because the F-16 block 70 and F-15 aircraft, price range constraints for the fiscal 12 months 2024 make it inconceivable to decide to such procurements.
The US believes that four.5-generation fighter jets would be suitable for the RTAF in preparation for future purchases of F-35As. However, the method of supplying F-35A jets to a new purchaser can take a minimal of 10 years, together with the required installations of particular infrastructure, coaching facilities, and security systems. The F-35A jets come with new technical and operational ideas, along with stealth capabilities, making sharing infrastructure with the present F-16 systems inconceivable.
The decision on RTAF Gripen jets might be reviewed by a new commander-in-chief, who is ready to be appointed on October 1, reported Bangkok Post.
In recent information, the RTAF has justified its purchase of steering prolonged range kits from South Korea, totalling 50 million baht. This acquisition is a part of the RTAF’s ongoing efforts to enhance its capabilities and maintain operational effectiveness inside the region..

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