Thailand will purchase stealth jets if United States okays
Thailand will purchase Lockheed Martin F-35 stealth jets if the United States approves it. In January, Thailand set aside US$413 million for four jets, but one Thai air marshal said Thailand wants to buy as many as eight. A US State Department spokesperson said the department doesn’t confirm or comment on proposed transfers or sales until congress has been formally notified about them. The F-35 is considered a highly sensitive export the United States only sells to its closest allies.
The only countries in the Indo-pacific that have purchased these jets from the United States are Australia, Japan, South Korea, and Singapore. Lockheed Martin’s senior vice president in Global Business told Reuters the decision is up to the United States government, and he is unsure what decision it will make.
“I think there is some promise there, but I honestly don’t know where the US government will come down on that.”
The Royal Thai Air Force agreed to buy the jets in January, citing a need to beef up Thailand’s national defence. Its planes are now over 30 years old, creating a safety risk. The air force also said now is a good time to purchase since prices have dropped. It will pay almost 22 billion baht if it buys eight jets.
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