US rejects F-35 for China's ‘Strategic Ally’, offering F-15, F-16 instead

The United States Department of Defense has reportedly turned down Thailand's request to procure advanced fifth-generation F-35 fighter jets but has extended an alternative proposal, offering the Southeast Asian nation the opportunity to purchase F-16 Block 70 and F-15 Eagle fighters. US Ambassador Robert F. Gordec conveyed the Pentagon's message to Royal Thai Air Force Chief ACM Alongkorn Wannarot during a recent visit to the Royal Thai Air Force (RTAF) headquarters at Don Mueang. 


The US has expressed its willingness to reconsider the request once the Royal Thai Air Force (RTAF) attains a certain level of readiness, potentially within the next five to ten years. In the meantime, the US has made an alternative proposal, offering to sell F-16 Block 70 and F-15 Eagle fighters to Thailand. If the request is officially denied, it would require the US to refund an advance payment of 369.1 million baht (around $10.5 million).


This indicates a strategic approach by the US, considering the current capabilities of the RTAF and proposing aircraft that align with Thailand’s immediate defense requirements. The Royal Thai Air Force (RTAF) is exploring acquiring an additional fleet of Gripen fighter jets from Saab AB, a Swedish aerospace company. 


The RTAF had previously purchased a squadron of 12 Gripen fighters stationed at Wing 7 in Surat Thani, but one of the fighters was lost in a crash incident. Over the past year, the RTAF has consistently demonstrated a growing interest in procuring a fifth-generation fighter aircraft, but concerns over the transparency of Thailand’s military procurement process have intensified. The official response in July will clarify the future trajectory of Thailand’s defense procurement plans and the potential ramifications for the allocated funds.

Post a Comment

Previous Post Next Post

1 / 3
2 / 3
3 / 3
EN - 728x90