US declines Thai F-35 bid, presents F-16 and F-15 jets as an alternative

The United States Department of Defense has informally declined Thailand’s request to buy F-35 fighter jets, based on a Royal Thai Air Force (RTAF) supply. Instead, the US has supplied F-16 Block 70 and F-15 E Strike Eagle fighter jets as alternatives.
The Pentagon’s choice was introduced by Robert F Gordec, the US ambassador to Thailand, throughout a gathering with ACM Alongkorn Wannarot, the air drive commander-in-chief, on the RTAF headquarters in Don Mueang two weeks ago. The ambassador cited the US Department of State’s opinion that the RTAF may not yet have the required infrastructure amenities for the F-35s, including airbase safety, airfields, upkeep, pilots, and other personnel.
Gordec explained that it will require a significant period of time and finances for the RTAF to be fully ready for the F-35s. However, the US did not utterly reject Thailand’s request and would rethink it when the RTAF is ready, doubtless within the next 5 to 10 years, reported Bangkok Post.
In the meantime, the US has provided to sell F-16 Block 70 and F-15 E Strike Eagle fighters to Thailand. Surge to the RTAF’s F-35 acquisition bid is anticipated in July. If the request is formally denied, the RTAF must return 369.1 million baht (US$11.6 million) or an advance payment of 5% accredited by the House of Representatives to the state.
The source additionally revealed that the RTAF is considering shopping for another fleet of Gripen fighter jets from Sweden’s Saab AB. The air force had previously purchased a fleet of 12 Gripen fighters, which were based at Wing 7 in Surat Thani, but misplaced one in a crash..

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