Tuesday, August 24, 2010

The Thais gear up for Gripen

Thai Air Force technicians and Swedish Air Force instructors in front of a Royal Thai Air Force Gripen during a visit to Saab in Linköping. Photo: Per Kustvik

Training is underway at the Swedish Armed Forces Technical school in Halmstad and will continue until the end of the year. The technical training also includes a On the Job Training (OJT) part at the Swedish Air Force Wings F 7 in Såtenäs and F 17 in Ronneby. As part of their training, technicians spent time at Saab’s Gripen manufacturing hub in Linköping. The technicians’ training programme forms part of Thailand’s 2008 procurement contract for six Gripen fighter jets.

In a parallel initiative, Air Chief Marshal Itthaporn Subhawong, Commander in Chief of the Royal Thai Air Force (RTAF), met with Lt. Gen. Carlo Gagiano, Chief of the South African Air Force to discuss areas of mutual interest, including Gripen and its introduction into the SAAF. The chiefs met at Air Force Base Makhado, home to South Africa’s Gripen fleet.

The visit also emphasized both countries’ commitment to co-operate and promote bilateral relations.

The RTAF also signed a contract with the Swedish Defence Materiel Administration (FMV) to supply it with a Saab 340 AEW Erieye airborne surveillance system and another Saab 340 aircraft for training and transport. They will be delivered in December 2010.

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