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News Forum - Thailand & China fighter jets take off on Falcon Strike drills


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The Royal Thai Air Force yesterday reported it will resume a fighter jets exercise with China this weekend. The Falcon Strike exercise between Thailand and China was an annual event until it was postponed in 2020 because of the Covid-19 pandemic. The drill has taken place four times since 2015 and takes flight once again on Sunday, August 14. It will run for 11 days at a military base in northeastern Udon Thani. To conspiracy theorists, it may appear to be a somewhat belligerent or symbolic act that Thailand and China are using the Udon Thani base, as it was […]

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1 hour ago, dimitri said:

Do they really think that the US is going to sell them the F35?    

I would only sell them to an ally that you can trust. Not one that cosies up to China. Perhaps Thailand could ask china to sell their latest jets to them

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7 hours ago, dimitri said:

Do they really think that the US is going to sell them the F35?    

Considering that the US would not sell NATO member Turkey any F35s because Turkey acquired Russian S400 air defence systems, the Thai air force is engaging in unrealistic and wishful thinking.

Thailand has far too close a military cooperation with China to risk selling them F35s. No doubt they're using the Gripen and not the F16s in these exercises because China already knows the performance envelope and electronic signature of F16s but very likely has a lot less information about the Saab Gripen.

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Ohhh, I should be a bit careful Mr Thailand.
 

That’s exactly how The Russia/Ukrain, so called exercise started, with Russia performing some exercises with their chums in Belarus.

Now with the current situation as it is between Taiwan and China, you could very well get dragged in like it or not. No more pi**ing in two corners. You will have chosen without choice and be neutral no more.

only my humble opinion of course, but it’s dangerous times, for sure. 

 

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1 hour ago, js89 said:

No doubt they're using the Gripen and not the F16s in these exercises because China already knows the performance envelope and electronic signature of F16s but very likely has a lot less information about the Saab Gripen.

I think it has more to do with the fact Thailand's F-16s are much older aircraft and near the end of their lifespan. That said, China certainly need more practice against the Gripen:

 

Details of the Exercise Falcon Strike 2015, held at Korat Royal Thai Air Force Base for two weeks in mid-November 2015, the first-ever joint exercise between the Chinese and Thai air forces, were revealed in 2019. While the Chinese PLA Air Force (PLAAF) brought J-11 to the wargame, the Thai Air Force deployed Swedish Saab JAS-39C/D Gripens, though it also operates the American F-16s. What astounded the military experts is that a 25-year-old fighter overpowered the relatively younger Chinese J-11 aircraft especially during the beyond-visual-range (BVR) engagements.

https://eurasiantimes.com/saab-gripen-rips-apart-chinese-j-11-fighters-in-war-games-experts-call-them-sitting-ducks-for-rafales/

Keeping in mind two things. First the Thais use the older "C" version, not the newer frontline "E" version of the Gripen. There is a huge difference in performance and avionics. Second few countries use the Gripen as it hasn't faired well in overseas sales. Part of that is politics which play a larger roll in fighter sales than some might think, but it's mostly do to the fact it's not the better plane in the competition.

1 hour ago, NorskTiger said:

F-35? The best part of it is the marketing and the ability to keep a 20-year old project an onging sales pitch. 

That would make more sense if jet fighter sales were nothing more than walking into a store and picking the product from a shelf. Fighter sales are years long competitions that depend on actual performance not what's in a brochure. You are often competing against 3-4 planes from different manufacturers. The planes are flown to the host country where they are put through their paces for evaluation. For example, the Swiss took almost a decade from when they decided to purchase new fighters to agreeing on the F-35:

Neutral Switzerland will buy 36 F-35As after an evaluation found it had "the highest overall benefit at the lowest overall cost," the government said. The aircraft beat bids from Boeing's F/A-18 Super Hornet, the Rafale from France's Dassault and the four-nation Eurofighter built by Germany- and Spain-backed Airbus, Italy's Leonardo and Britain's BAE Systems.

https://www.cnn.com/2021/06/30/europe/switzerland-f-35-fighters-intl-hnk/index.html

Oh and the Saab Gripen was part of the competition too, only to drop out early once they realize the Swiss were not longer considering them. 

What is really interesting is the fact the Chinese can't get anyone of note outside of Pakistan too buy their fighters. No matter how hard they try, other countries keep saying "no thanks". 

 

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29 minutes ago, EdwardV said:

What astounded the military experts is that a 25-year-old fighter overpowered the relatively younger Chinese J-11 aircraft especially during the beyond-visual-range (BVR) engagements.

https://eurasiantimes.com/saab-gripen-rips-apart-chinese-j-11-fighters-in-war-games-experts-call-them-sitting-ducks-for-rafales/

Useful link that. I hadn't seen this article and didn't know about these exercises.

Seems like a combination of poor air to air missiles, electronic warfare capability and inexperience of the Chinese pilots is a toxic combination.

Although I would not ascribe too much weight to the pilot inexperience component, since the Thai pilots are not hugely experienced either. Seems like the Chinese long range missiles are inferior to the AIM-120 and that their radars are not as good as Western ones. 

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Rock and a hard place? Nah, that's called playing both sides. Really poor optics,  that will likely come with subtly impactful consequences at a later date. 

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Why use a picture of the Union Buildings in South Africa with a Gripen fighter aircraft? Use a picture with more relevance to the article please.

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