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News Forum - US declines Thai F-35 bid, offers F-16 and F-15 jets instead


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The United States Department of Defense has informally declined Thailand’s request to buy F-35 fighter jets, according to a Royal Thai Air Force (RTAF) source. Instead, the US has offered F-16 Block 70 and F-15 E Strike Eagle fighter jets as alternatives. The Pentagon’s decision was announced by Robert F Gordec, the US ambassador to …

The story US declines Thai F-35 bid, offers F-16 and F-15 jets instead as seen on Thaiger News.

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Thailand does not need F35s, more to the point, they don't have the ground digital comms support to operate the aircraft.  The F35 is basically an airborne command center, a coordination facility and a movable missile platform, and a very expensive one at that, none of which are any use to Thailand.  Where is the enemy, where is the threat that needs that expensive technology to combat?   A balanced force for the Thai's Border/Gulf issues would be lots of helicopters , observation aircraft, a couple of maritime patrol aircraft and ground SAM facilities in place of interception aircraft like the F16s and 15s.  They are 'boys toys', with no appreciable military tactical or strategic value to the Thai's, but bloody good fun to fly I would say. 

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F-16s will be the easiest to service.  Excess parts and  munitions are readily available. Large numbers of trained mechanics available in countries with F-16 fleets.

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Acquiring the F-35 was always a stretch at best, and truth be told an unrealistic and unnecessary request. Thailand doesn't need F-35s. They were always better off with either the F-16 block 70, or the Saab Gripen E. Both of which they currently fly in older versions making any transition easy and less costly.

That said, they couldn't go wrong with the F-15EX. A plane designed for a 20k hours, with new engines/avionics/radar and electronic warfare. Israel ordered 25, and then almost immediately doubled the order. Indonesia just ordered 36. 

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