Thai Gripens with RBS-15 anti-ship missiles and inaugural T-50TH deliveries
January 12, 2018 • Leave a Comment
The Royal Thai Air Force (RTAF) put on display one of its 701 Fighter Squadron's JAS-39C Gripens with a pair of RBS-15F air-launched anti-ship missiles at the Surat Thani Children's Day airshow held on 13 January. While it is widely known that an unspecified number of the missiles were included in the Gripen Air Defence Package signed between the RTAF and the Swedish Defence Materiel Administration in 2008, it is believed that this is the first time they have been seen publicly.
The RBS-15Fs — which could deliver a 200 kg warhead from a range of 70 km via a a sea-skimming approach — are of the radar-guided Mk.1 version and lack the land-attack capabilities of the longer-ranged, dual GPS and radar guided Mk.3 variant which comes only in the ship-launched version. The RBS-15Fs provide the Thai Gripens with the teeth for their anti-shipping missions. Strategically based at Surat Thani in southern Thailand, both the resource-rich Gulf of Thailand and Andaman Sea are within easy reach of the Gripens.
In other RTAF-related news, the delivery of the first pair of T-50TH Golden Eagle fighter trainers to Thailand has been post-phoned. According to a statement from the RTAF, the T-50THs flew into severe weather while on their third leg of their journey home between Clark Airbase in the Philippines to Kuantan Airbase in Malaysia. Post-flight inspections revealed certain irregularities which had to be rectified. While it was not announced when they will eventually arrive home, sources have indicated that the delivery could be delayed by up to two weeks. The T-50THs had been expected to arrive at Takhli Air Base in central Thailand on January 11 after a 6,658 km ferry flight that had also taken them to Kaoshiung, Taiwan from the Korea Aerospace Industries factory in Sacheon.
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