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Defence & Security Ends with Focus on Growing Thai Defence Capability

Our Bureau - : Nov 9, 2023 - : 8:16 am

The biennial Defence & Security tri-services event held in Bangkok, Thailand concluded on 8 November having provided a showcase to Thailand’s growing indigenous defence capability. Nearly 23,000 trade visitors from 65 countries are estimated to have visited the show over the three-day exhibition period. Speaking on the inaugural day of the event on 6 November, Thailand’s Minister of Defence Sutin Klungsang said the Royal Thai Government’s policy and objective was to enhance the nation’s defence industry and internal security development to reduce its dependence on imports with a focus on technology transfer and partnership.

There was plenty of Thai military capability on display along with emerging opportunities for international defence firms in Thailand. In an exclusive interview with Daily News prior to the start of the show, Air Chief Marshal Punpakdee Pattanakul, Commander-in-Chief of the Royal Thai Air Force, outlined his plans for the service, including procurement of new fighter jets to replace F-16s operated by Wing 1. He said the RTAF was considering either Lockheed Martin F-16s or the Saab Gripen to meet the requirement. Speaking to Daily News on Day 3 of the show, Robert Bjorklund Gripen Sales Executive said the Swedish airframer would propose the Gripen E to meet any future RTAF requirement.

Thailand based Aero Technology Industry Limited (ATIL), showcased a wide range of unmanned aerial systems (UAS) at Defence & Security. It is now focussing on developing armed drone variants that will dramatically enhance the capability of the Royal Thai Armed Forces. In an exclusive interaction with Daily News onsite, Group Captain Dr. Nattapol Niyomthai (Ph.D), Director Aero Technology Industry Limited said that ATIL was focussed on an armed variant of the DP20 medium altitude long endurance (MALE) UAS, designated the DP20A as also the future DP21A. ATIL is showcased four drone variants at the show – the DP16, DP18, DP20 and DP21 which are essentially of Chinese origin but are being configured to meet the operational requirements of the Royal Thai Army (RTA).


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