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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.

​This month, the Royal Thai Air Force (RTAF) celebrated Children's Day at Don Muang on 12 January. Gripen's aerial display was the center of attraction for all the young visitors at the Air Base. 


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“Everybody wants to fly a Gripen,” said Wing 7 deputy commander Group Captain Prachya Tippayarat, commenting on the abundance of potential recruits who want to become future Gripen pilots.

How did Gripen become a prized Thai fighter?

From forming a full-fledged fighter fleet to completing 10,000 flying hours, let’s take a look at the many milestones Royal Thai Air Force (RTAF) Gripen has achieved over a remarkable 10-year journey.

It all started in 2007 when the RTAF decided to introduce Gripen fighter aircraft into their Air Force. It was on February 2011 when the RTAF received their first batch of six Gripen fighters- two Gripen Cs and four Gripen Ds. However, another supplementary contract had already been signed in 2010 for a second batch of six Gripen C fighters which was delivered three years later in 2013.

In June 2011, The RTAF decided to carry out their plan to integrate a Network-Centric Defense Force to enhance interoperability between their military branches. On 11 September 2013, nearing the completion of the Gripen contract signed in 2010 with Sweden, the RTAF announced the Gripen Integrated Air Defense system as a fully operational part of the Air Force at its home base in Surat Thani.

According to 701 Squadron Wing Commander Kritsana Sukdee, the RTAF Gripen unit is “small, but powerful”, as represented by its Tiger Shark emblem. He also points to the importance of regular joint training with other Thai air force squadrons, noting: “There is ...

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RTAF Gripen has completed 10,000 flight hours now. The milestone was achieved at the Pitch Black 2018 exercise.

"We owe this success to our people, everyone who has been on duty with dedication," an RTAF Commander said.

It’s been ten years since the RTAF placed the order for the first time for the delivery of 6 Gripen fighters from Saab, back in February 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. 

Since then, Gripen has been a mainstay of the Royal Thai Air Force.

At the recently concluded Exercise Pitch Black, the fleet of Thai Gripen performed various drills and exercises alongside Air Force fleets of India, Canada, France, Germany, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Netherlands, New Zealand, Philippines, United States, and Singapore. 

One of the major goals of the exercise was to increase the combat readiness of the participating air forces. More than 4000 personnel and 140 aircraft participated in the exercise.

The exercise proved to be very fruitful for the RTAF pilots as they enhanced their knowledge and experience while dealing with new battle tactics and major, tactical, combat, modern weapons. Further, it strengthened their relationship with the other participating nations. 

For more information of RTAF Gripen’s participation at Pitch Black 2018, click here.

Image Courtesy: RTAF​

​Wing 7 recently invited over school children to take a look at the Air Base, understand military service and ask questions. 

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Image Courtesy: RTAF

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In the last four years, the Swedish, the Czech Republic, and the Hungarian Air Forces have successfully completed the MS20 upgrade to their Gripen fleet.  And now, the Royal Thai Air Force (RTAF) is reportedly looking to upgrade its fleet of 11 Gripen C/Ds with the latest configuration. Their Gripens are currently configured to the MS19 version. 

The MS20 upgrade involves both software and hardware upgrade which would enhance Gripen’s air-to-ground target engagement by integrating electro-optical pods that will allow the jets to drop laser-guided bombs.

Along with an enhancement of Gripen’s air-to-ground target engagement ability, the MS20 configuration will also introduce new radar modes that will improve the fighter’s air-to-air target engagement even more. The upgrade will also add Boeing’s Small Diameter Bomb and MBDA’s Meteor beyond-visual-range-air-to-air-missile (BVRAAM).

According to another news report in Defense News​, RTAF however, would not need the integration of the NATO standard 16 datalink used by NATO and its partner nations. The RTAF’s Gripens will continue to run on Link T, which is the Thai military’s indigenous network.

"We are planning to upgrade the Gripens to the MS20 standard. We have seen the capabilities of the latest standard and it’s everything we need," says Group Captain Prachya Tippayarat, Deputy Commander of the RTAF's Wing 7 at Surat Thani Air Base. “However, no details on the timelines have been announced yet,” he adds.

It was in 2008 when an agreement was signed between ...

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Saab has been contracted to update Thailand’s national air command-and-control system (ACCS).

The upgrade will includes, among other things, new hardware and software enhancements that will expand the capabilities of ACCS for future operations.

ACCS is an integral part of network centric air defence capability. The system is based on Saab’s 9AIR C4I product and includes Gripen fighter, Erieye airborne early warning system and tactical data links.

The contract is set to run until 2020.

Read the full storyhere.

39188342_2180083338687911_5160242814885298176_n.jpg
RTAF Gripen_10000 hours.jpg
rtafgripen_2_2308.jpgrtafgripen_3_2308.jpg
RTAF Gripen has completed 10,000 flight hours now. The milestone was achieved at the Pitch Black 2018 exercise.

"We owe this success to our people, everyone who has been on duty with dedication," an RTAF Commander said.

It’s been ten years since the RTAF placed the order for the first time for the delivery of 6 Gripen fighters from Saab, back in February 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. 

Since then, Gripen has been a mainstay of the Royal Thai Air Force.

At the recently concluded Exercise Pitch Black, the fleet of Thai Gripen performed various drills and exercises alongside Air Force fleets of India, Canada, France, Germany, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Netherlands, New Zealand, Philippines, United States, and Singapore. 

One of the major goals of the exercise was to increase the combat readiness of the participating air forces. More than 4000 personnel and 140 aircraft participated in the exercise.

The exercise proved to be very fruitful for the RTAF pilots as they enhanced their knowledge and experience while dealing with new battle tactics and major, tactical, combat, modern weapons. Further, it strengthened their relationship with the other participating nations. 

For more information of RTAF Gripen’s participation at Pitch Black 2018, click here.

Image Courtesy: RTAF

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SKY'S THE LIMIT

Enabled by the latest available technology, Gripen gives the Royal Thai Air Force South Asias’s most agile swing-role fighter aircraft.

Photo. Katsuhiko Tokunaga ​​

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“Gripen will be a revolution,” says Brazilian Senator Ana Amélia Lemos on her recent visit to the FAB office.

"Even though I was a layman, I was able to recognise a key criteria in the choice of the Swedish plane: technology transfer. People often do not understand the importance of technological development in defence, but we should,” she said.

In October 2014, Saab signed a contract with Brazil to develop 36 Gripen E/F fighters for the Brazilian Air Force. And the most decisive factor for Brazil to go with Saab was its transfer of technology (ToT) offer. The ToT program currently is divided into 50 projects and covers theoretical training, research, and technology programmes. It also includes on-the-job training in Sweden, and production and development work. 

Read the full story here

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