Thai Gripens Soar High

The last ten years of Gripen operations in Thailand have set new standards in South East Asia, says a report in Combataircraft.keypublishing.com.

According to the report, when the Royal Thai Air Force (RTAF) was looking for a new fighter to replace its ageing F-5E Tiger IIs, it was thinking outside the box. Unlike its previous military hardware choices, the air force was looking for a complete package with advanced sensors and network centric capabilities. The contract with Saab was signed in 2008. Deliveries began around 2011 for two single seaters (Gripen C) and four two seaters (Gripen D). They further ordered 6 more around 2010, which were delivered in two phases in 2013.

In the last ten years, Gripen has been a part of various RTAF missions and deployments. Last year, the RTAf Gripen completed 10,000 flight hours at the Pitch Black Exercise.

As per a Jane's report, RTAF is now looking to upgrade its Gripen fighters to MS20 configuration. "We are planning to upgrade the Gripens to the MS20 standard. We have seen the capabilities of the current standard and it would do everything we need," Group Captain Prachya Tippayarat, deputy commander of the RTAF's Wing 7 at Surat Thani Air Base, said.

Read the full story here.