Thailand Air Force Claims U.S. Denied F-35 Jet Purchase Request

The US won’t sell Thailand its stealthy F-35 fighter jets because of problems with training and technical standards, Thailand’s air force said Thursday.

The United States named Thailand a Major Non-NATO Ally in 2003. Last year, Thailand set aside a budget of 13.8 billion baht ($407.68 million) to buy new planes to replace its old fighters, which were mostly made in the United States and are getting old.

It set its sights on up to eight Lockheed Martin F-35A jets.

Air Force spokesperson Air Chief Marshall Prapas Sornchaidee said in a statement that the United States couldn’t sell the fifth-generation fighters because of conditions like time limits, technical requirements, and upkeep compatibility.

The F-35 is one of the most advanced fighter planes in the world. It is only given to the United States’s closest allies, such as Australia, Japan, South Korea, and Singapore because it is a sensitive export.

Thailand has 12 JAS-39 Gripen fighter jets made by the Swedish company Saab. It also has fighter jets made in the United States, many of which have been in use for decades.

Since the Vietnam War, when Thai bases were used by U.S. air force and navy troops, Thailand’s military has used U.S. technology. Thailand has held “Cobra Gold” training exercises with the US every year for a long time.

The tweet below verifies the news:

The Thai military’s overthrows of elected governments in 2006 and 2014 and worries about army-backed governments reaching out to China, a rival power, have put a strain on these close ties.

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Prapas said that the air force would still replace its F-16 jets and that the U.S. had offered improved versions of the F-15 and F-16s, which could be moved more quickly.

($1 = 33.8500 baht)

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