09 April 2013
RTAF JAS-39 Gripen (photo : nationmultimedia)
The air force plans to deploy Gripen fighter jets to assist in an anti-piracy mission in the Strait of Malacca next year.
Air force chief Prajin Jantong said he was about to request government permission for the deployment to participate in the "Eyes in the Sky" project with defence forces in Malaysia, Indonesia and Singapore.
ACM Prajin said the air force has nine Gripen fighter jets.
Three more jets will arrive either in late August or early September to complete Thailand's first fleet of 12 Gripen 39C jets.
At that time the air force will announce the roles of its jets.ACM Prajin also said the Network Centric system of the air force will be completed in 2015.
The system would link the information systems of Gripen jets and the navy's warships: the HTMS Chakri Naruebet aircraft carrier, and HTMS Taksin and HTMS Naresuan frigates.
It will also connect to the anti-air warfare systems of the army and the Command, Control, Communications, Computers and Intelligence (C4-I) system of the Royal Thai Armed Forces Headquarters.
An air force source said connecting the communication systems of the Gripen jets and F jets is technically possible, but will depend on whether the United States will permit the link.
The Royal Thai Air Force started to deploy Gripen jets on March 15, 2009, and each Gripen jet has 160 flying hours a year.