Royal Thai Air Force Purchases Three VIP S-92(R) Helicopters
Tuesday October 16, 11:00 am ET
SEOUL, Korea, Oct. 16 /PRNewswire/ -- The Royal Thai Air Force has become the latest head-of-state customer to fly a Sikorsky S-92® VIP helicopter, as Sikorsky Aircraft Corp. today announced the sale of three of the VIP aircraft to transport the Thai royal family. Sikorsky Aircraft is a subsidiary of United Technologies Corp. (NYSE: UTX - News).
The contract was signed by Air Chief Marshal Paisal Sitabutr and Sikorsky representatives, marking the company's first sale to the Royal Thai Air Force. All three aircraft are scheduled to be delivered in 2010.
"Sikorsky is increasing its global presence in the helicopter industry, and the Royal Thai Air Force selection of the S-92 helicopter is further evidence that a strong system of customer support, quality and performance are meeting the expectations of our international customers," said Sikorsky President Jeffrey Pino.
Sikorsky Aircraft Corp., based in Stratford, Conn., is a world leader in helicopter design, manufacturing, and service. The company's long commitment to safety and innovation is reflected in its mission statement: "We pioneer flight solutions that bring people home everywhere ... every time(TM)." United Technologies Corp., based in Hartford, Conn., provides a broad range of high-technology products and support services to the aerospace and building systems industries.
Supreme Command Headquarters is preparing the 800-soldier battalion due to join the United Nations and African Union peacekeeping mission in Darfur.
Lt Gen Palangkoon Klahan, Director of the military’s Civil Affairs Division, said the 800 Thai troops would participate in the peacekeeping mission in the African country.
Thailand is to be the only country outside the African Union member nations to participate in the task in the war-torn western region of Darfur, where genocide allegedy is occurring.
The Directorate of Joint Operations was working on administrative affairs to support the Thai mission in Sudan, he said. The troops are tentatively scheduled to leave Thailand on Dec 31.
The Thai military’s task would cover protection of civilians, their buildings and facilities as well as ensuring free movement of staff working for the United Nations and humanitarian organisations, said Lt Gen Palangkoon.
They would also help to enforce the Darfur Peace Agreement and prevent any attempt to obstruct it, he said.
The Thai troops would be under the command of the AU-UN joint special representative, Rodolphe Adada, and would initially stay in Sudan for a year, said the director. An extension of the mission would be considered year by year.
The Cabinet had already approved the mission and agreed to allocate 350 million baht as reserved fund for the first six months.
The United Nations Security Council authorised the peacekeeping mission in Darfur earlier this year in an attempt to quell the ongoing violence in Darfur where more than 200,000 people have been killed and at least 2.2 million others forced to flee their homes since 2003 in light of fighting between rebels and government forces.(TNA)
Ukraine Embassy in Bangkok has finally broke its silence and hit back at critics over a procurement plan of Thai army's armored personnel carrier (APC), saying the vehicles are absolutely new and up-to-date.
It accused the media of "distorted facts and groundless allegations".
"There is strong feeling that those publications have been inspired by those companies from some countries, which participated in the bidding but did not succeed, with the aim to hamper the progress in collaboration between the Government of Ukraine and the Government of the Kingdom of Thailand and mislead the public opinion," the embassy said through a statement dated October 18, 2007.
The embassy said the 96 BTR3E1 model to be delivered to Thailand are "absolutely new and uptodate" and has already become "wellknown as one of the world's most well equipped APC"
"Only latest technological solutions have been used for design and production of this APC that do not yield to any world's analogues, and, in some aspects, like dynamic and fire characteristics, as well as armor strength and tire bulletproof capacity, even exceed them," the statement said.
The embassy said from the Thai Army and the Thai Defence Ministry have verified "the quality of the Ukrainian production line and APCs during their recent visits to the manufacturing facilities and viewing of the live demonstrations in Ukraine last May."
Dispute over the planned procurement surfaced weeks ago when the then deputy permanent secretary at the Defence Ministry, Admiral Banawit Kengrien, created a drift among the defence circle when he refused to endorse the plan and delayed the approval process.
Leading security expert Chulalongkorn University's Associated Professor Panitan Wattanayagorn also voiced his opinion against the deal, saying the armed forces would be better off purchasing a higher quality APC that has proven record.
The Office of Auditor General also raised several questions over this procurement project, especially over the aftersale agreements, as well as the bidding procedures.
Thailand will buy two Saab Erieye airborne early warning aircraft along with 12 Gripen fighters. (Gripen photo by Frans Dely)In Bangkok, Thailand yesterday the Thai government announced the down-selection of the Saab Gripen new generation fighter, and the Saab Erieye Airborne Early Warning (AEW) system to meet its national defence needs.
The Thai Cabinet has approved a budget of 34,400 million baht (US$ 1.1 billion) for the Royal Thai Air Force (RTAF) to procure twelve Gripen multi-role fighters, to replace its ageing fleet of F-5 B/E aircraft, and two Saab Erieye AEW aircraft, together with associated equipment and services.
Negotiations between Thai and Swedish government officials will now commence in order to conclude a formal agreement.
A two-phase procurement process
The procurement process is divided into two phases. Phase 1 covers the procurement of six Gripen fighters, including spare parts and training, and one Saab Erieye AEW system aircraft in the sum of 19,000 billion baht (US$ 600 million), within a five-year budgetary commitment from 2008 to 2012.
In Phase 2, the RTAF intend to procure an additional six Gripen fighters together with associated equipment, spare parts and training, and a second Saab Erieye AEW system aircraft in the sum of 15,400 billion baht (US$ 500 million) within a five year budgetary commitment from 2013 to 2017.
Swedish Minister for Foreign Affairs welcomes the decision
Swedish Minister for Foreign Affairs, Carl Bildt says in a comment on Thailand and Gripen. “I welcome the decision from the Royal Thai government to start negotiations with the Swedish government, to purchase Gripen fighter aircraft and the Saab Erieye Airborne Early Warning (AEW) system. This decision once again confirms that Gripen is a world class and cost effective system. The selection of Gripen was made in fierce competition with advanced US and Russian systems”.
“We must now wait for the result of the formal negotiations that will now commence between the Swedish and Thai authorities. When a formal agreement is in place, this will be managed in accordance with the appropriate export legislation, rules and regulations” he stated.
Replacement has been evaluated since 2003
Since 2003, the RTAF has been evaluating a suitable replacement for its ageing fleet of F-5 B/E fighters to undertake the air defence and protect the national interests of the Kingdom of Thailand. In its evaluations, the RTAF considered the requirements of suitable new generation aircraft to replace its F-5 B/E aircraft, including the need for true multi-role/swing-role capability, new generation flight control systems, communications systems, avionics systems and a weapons system. The new aircraft needed to be capable of joint operations and tactical data linking with allied ground, maritime and air forces, within an effective command and control system. In addition, the costs of operation, maintenance and through-life costs needed to be the lowest of aircraft of the same type.
Following its evaluation process, and in consideration of these critical performance issues, the RTAF has selected the Gripen multi-role fighter, manufactured by Saab to meet its future defence needs.
Will be delivered into operational service in 2010
It is planned that the new Gripen fighters will be delivered into operational service in 2010. Sweden has also offered the Gripen fighters with a 2 (two) years maintenance and spare parts support package.
Moreover, other benefits in the form of Thai – Sweden co-operation are proposed to enhance economic security – such as industrial co-operation, maintenance and logistics co-operation, technology transfer, investment co-operation, export as well as science and technology.
King Chulalongkorn visit to Europe is one of the main factors why Kingdom of Siam, now Kingdom of Thailand, is not fall into the British or France hand.
100 years of King Chulalongkorn
Bad Homburg in Germany pays tribute to its royal guest with a year-long museum exhibitionPublished on October 22, 2007
Ursula Stiehler, director of the Gotisches Haus museum in Bad Homburg, usually gets to choose the themes of the exhibitions, but when the mayor made a special request at the beginning of 2006, it came as no surprise: The centenary of King Chulalongkorn's visit to the German city was coming up.
The Siamese monarch - Rama V - came to Homburg (before it added the prefix Bad) during his European tour in 1907. It was renowned, and still is, for the healing waters of its springs.
Stiehler put a full year of research into the show, which has been running through 2007 and continues until January 6, and as a reward had a genuine surprise - a visit earlier this month from Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn.
Covering two floors at the museum, the exhibition is called "Ich wnsche Euch Wohlergehen", which means "I wish you all very well". It's a greeting with which people would have addressed those of higher social standing 100 years ago.
"I suppose Dr von Noorden [King Chulalongkorn's personal physician in Europe] would have used the expression on his daily visits to the villa where the King and Princes stayed," Stiehler says.
The monarch spent a month in the city, restoring his vitality, and then showed his gratitude by giving its people a gilded Siamese pavilion that still has pride of place in the greenery of Kurpark.
Stiehler vividly remembers the first time she saw it, on a class trip to the vast park in the city centre, "glittering and glowing".
"As a young girl I was fascinated by its beauty. It was so enjoyable walking up the steps and using my imagination about what might happen there.
"I'm very emotionally attached to it," she laughs.
Having never been to Thailand and with few resources that might have helped - such as the "Klai Baan" ("Far from Home") collection of letters the King wrote to his daughter Princess Nibha Nobhadol - Stiehler faced a daunting task assembling the exhibition.
All she had to start with, in fact, was a history of Bad Homburg that boasted all of two pages about Chulalongkorn. From there she delved into local archives and other cities' museums, and travelled to Berlin to seek assistance from the Thai Embassy.
"It was like being a detective," she says. "I got the information piece by piece, and they linked to others."
A mountain of books, many rare photos and help from specialists such as Prof Ampha Otrakul of Chulalongkorn University - who translated "Klai Baan" into German for Stiehler - eventually produced a complete and engaging portrait of Rama V and his times.
The displays on the first floor offer a glimpse of Siam - a sala, amulets and coins. "I want to show people what life was like in Thailand," Stiehler says.
There is a symbolic bridge between Asia and Europe, representing trade and foreign affairs, and exhibits depicting the European lifestyle of the era, with a large display of hats.
"Of all the hats shown, the Homburg is the most important, because it was produced in this city more than 100 years ago," Stiehler says. "We have pictures of King Chulalongkorn and the princes wearing Homburgs."
A third section is devoted to the King's medical treatment here, covering the doctors who attended him and the applications they used, including hot showers, massages, baths in mud and carbonic acid water and being packed into "remedial" earth.
On the second floor are displays about the Villa Frstenruhe, where the King and his sons stayed, the birthday celebration held in his honour, and the dedication of "King Chulalongkorn's well" in Kurpark.
Also on view is the royal decoration bestowed on Dr von Noorden and the invitations the King sent out to his birthday party.
Stiehler still wishes she'd had more time to arrange the show, but she is pleased with the results, and had the honour of showing Princess Sirindhorn around on October 7.
"I didn't expect the Princess' visit, so I was very, very surprised when I got the news from the mayor, but very pleased."
She got no sleep the night before thinking about what to show her royal guest and rehearsing her commentary.
The 30-minute visit, she says, was "a very high honour for me. I'd never experienced anything close to it in my 20 years in the profession.
"I hope she understood most of it. Unfortunately, it was only a very short time, and my English isn't perfect!"
The Princess, Stiehler says, was wonderful, showing a keen interest, "staying focused" throughout the tour and demonstrating a "profound knowledge".
"This is how I also imagined King Chulalongkorn when he walked through Homburg so he could get to talk with the citizens - the wonderful way the King had in approaching people - just like the Princess."
One of the most interesting part of "The technology of Balance" is page 44 (Thai worte ๔๔) in Appendix II
Why RTAF don't opts for more F-16s or switch to Su30
The document said about the specification requirement of this program which you can finds it in the news. And they said waht they think about each model
Program requirement form the news
Before finally choosing the Gripen jets, the committee considered three jet fighter models in total. The two other models were the American-made F16 C/D and the Russian-made SU 30 MK.
Under the air force's selection criteria, the jets must be equipped with advanced technology with the potential for future upgrades. The technology must be comparable or no less sophisticated than those jet fighters used or to be purchased by governments in neighbouring countries, said ACM Chalit.
The jets must also suit the geographical aspects of military operations in the South, where the jets would be deployed over Thai territorial waters, both in the Andaman Sea and the Gulf of Thailand.
Besides, he said the air force must be able to develop its own control over future aircraft maintenance.
And the RTAF opinion.
- Su-30MK : Large jet, high payload. Suitable for the large geography like Russia. Flanker is big, which means its RCS is high. RTAF need to buy all new support and weapon and facility like building, hangar, maintainance site. The fuel consumption is very high. Structure, engine has a short life cycle. Life cycle cost is highest in these 3 models.
- F-16C/D: The medium multi-role jet. Capable for air-to-air and air-to-ground. Fuel comsumption is medium. Able to use the support facility of current F-16A/B. Technicians are very familar with the system. But the maintainance and usage has some limitation. Technology transfer also limit, and RTAF can procures only some type of weapon.
- JAS-39C/D Gripen: The performance is equal to another 4.5 generation fighter. Design for defence and counter the Warsaw Pact nation during the cold war. Weapon system and support is NATO standard. More flexible and suitable for the required geography. The main offer is consists of aircraft, AWE&C, technology transfer, support, and training.
They also mention in another part that Sweden has silimar geography compared to Southern Thailand, and the long good relationship between both countries and its Royal Family is also taken into consideration.
DEEP SOUTH / SECURITY DEPLOYMENTS, FRONTIER RESTRICTIONS
New battle orders for troops fighting rebels
Army chief in more aggressive approach
All four army regions have been ordered to deploy troops to the far South to combat the continuing insurgency. In a major overhaul of its operations, each army region is being given the responsibility of fighting insurgents in four provinces plagued by bombings and shootings.
The strategy, designed by army chief Gen Anupong Paochinda, takes a more aggressive approach to ending the daily violence, which has topped his agenda since he took over from Gen Sonthi Boonyaratkalin this month.
Now the Fourth Army is in charge of tackling the problems in the southernmost provinces. Soldiers from other regions have been sent in to help supplement troop numbers in Narathiwat, Pattani, Yala and four districts of Songkhla, but are still under the command of the southern army.
From the start of next month, the responsibility will be divided between all four army regions.
''We can't let the Fourth Army Region handle the situation alone. The whole army must help,'' a source quoted Gen Anupong as saying.
Under the new plan, one army region will be in full control of one southern-most province.
Gen Anupong also wanted the deputies of the army regions, holding the rank of major-general, to direct the military units themselves, the source said.
The future of the officers and soldiers would be decided by their performance in the southern areas where they work, according to the source.
''Once the areas of their responsibility become clear, their performances can be evaluated easily. Promotions are for successful units and transfers for the unsuccessful,'' the source quoted Gen Anupong as saying.
Two days before the launch of the strategy on Nov 1, Gen Anupong will fly to the far South to inspect preparations.
He admitted some problems were likely in the line of command, but they would be solved over time, the source said.
At present, the number of security forces, including soldiers and rangers, in the four troubled provinces stands at 26,000 troops.
Soldiers are divided into 18 battalions, each of which has 826 troops.
Gen Anupong also planned to increase the number of battalions to 33, equivalent to the number of districts in those provinces, to achieve a ''one battalion, one district'' system.
He has pledged not to let soldiers get involved in politics and vowed to try to find an end to the southern insurgency. One week after taking over the job of army chief, he took all the heads of the army regions to the South.
Deputy Prime Minister Sonthi, who is in charge of security, said yesterday that up to 600 insurgent suspects had been arrested so far.
He said the soldiers needed to drive the rest out of cities into forests so they could be managed more easily.
Meanwhile, cabinet has extended the period in which the Executive Decree on Public Administration in Emergency Situations can be enforced until Jan 19 next year.
The decree gives authorities wide powers to arrest suspects.