WEDNESDAY, April 17, 2024
nationthailand

US rejects purchase bid, says F-35 fighter jets too sophisticated for Thailand

US rejects purchase bid, says F-35 fighter jets too sophisticated for Thailand

Washington has rejected the Royal Thai Air Force (RTAF)’s request to buy two F-35 fighter jets on grounds that Thailand is not ready for such sophisticated aircraft.

An RTAF source said on Tuesday that US Ambassador Robert F Godec met RTAF chief ACM Alongkorn Wannarot last week to personally inform him of Washington’s decision.

The source quoted Godec as saying that RTAF does not have the facilities or required security measures to accommodate the fighter jets.

However, the source expressed doubts, saying the rejection may have been because President Joe Biden’s administration believes Bangkok is tilting too much towards Beijing.

US rejects purchase bid, says F-35 fighter jets too sophisticated for Thailand The source said the US envoy had told the RTAF chief that “when Thailand is ready, the US will be willing to hold another talk on the procurement of F35 fighter jets”.

The source said the RTAF did not suffer any damages from the rejection, other than having to return 369 million baht it had withdrawn from the 2023 budget. This amount was earmarked for the first instalment if the US agreed to sell F-35 fighter jets to Thailand.

The RTAF has been pushing to buy two F-35 aircraft for 7.38 billion baht to replace its fleet of ageing F-16 fighter jets. However, Alongkorn had indicated last year that the chance of the US agreeing to sell the aircraft was only 50%.

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