27 Oktober 2012

US to Supply Cut-Price Weaponry to Thailand

27 Oktober 2012 

US offers to Thailand :  two second-hand Oliver Hazard Perry class frigates, five new F-16 fighter, three new Blackhawk helicopters and a large number of second-hand Humvee military vehicle (all photos : fas, xairforces, keyaero, army recognition)

Thailand will receive heavily discounted military equipment from the US Department of Defense, including retired warships and F-16 fighter jet engines, to help cement military ties.

Thailand is a major non-Nato ally of the US and the department wants to recognise that friendship by selling weaponry selected from its Excess Defense Articles (EDA) programme, a Thai military source said.

The EDA programme was set up to sell off excess military items to other countries, according to the US Defense Security Cooperation Agency website.

In addition to five new F-16 fighter jet engines which have been offered for sale to the Royal Thai Air Force, the US has also offered to sell 1,150 Humvee military vehicles to the army that were previously deployed in Iraq.

The US has also offered three new Black Hawk helicopters to the army with a price tag of 1.3 billion baht each, the source said.

The navy will be offered two second-hand Perry Class frigates - general purpose warships designed back in the mid-1970s with a displacement of 4,100 tonnes."All of these items will be sold at very special, cheap prices," the source said.

"The discussion did not go into details. The offer is amicable."

The offer follows talks in Washington last week between permanent secretary for defence Gen Thanongsak Apirakyothin and US defence assistant secretary Marc Lippert.

Thailand and the US will mark 180 years of bilateral relations next year.

Defence minister Sukumpol Suwanatat and armed forces chiefs are due to meet US defence secretary Leon Panetta next month during his Thailand visit.

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