aktualisiert 10. February 2007

written 1. November 2006


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Royal Thai Navy

 

Quite a fleet if you compare it to immediate neighbors. Despite having a good force of frigate types they would fall into a Cat.2 force. However the addition of a couple of well armed 5-6,000 ton DDGs and a couple of SSKs would push the Thai fleet into a Cat1. force, just. Reports on the possible sale or lease of the 11,500 ton STOVL carrier Chakrinareubet, have proven to be false, and it still remains firmly in Thai service. Its complement of AV-8S Matadors are apparently largely non-operational, due to lack of spares and maintenance problems. However the carrier is still used in home water patrols, but the embarking and use of rotary types (e.g. S-70B) probably play the key role now in those patrols. Along side the 2 Phutthayofta Chulalok (ex-US Knox) class frigates, and the 2 Tapi (ex-US PF-103) class frigates, Thailand operates 6 Chinese built frigates, 4 of the them are Type 53 HT/HTH modified Jianghu designs, and the other 2 are 3,000 ton Chinese Type 25T designs, and look quite capable. This Type 25T class is called Naresuan by the Thais, and are modified MEKO designs, and were designed and built upon the Jianghu hull under German supervision. They are the most capable surface action hulls in this fleet at the moment, and have a mix of Chinese and US radar/communication/navigation systems, and are armed with Mk 41 LCHR 8 cell VLS Sea Sparrow and 8 x Harpoon, as well as an FMC 5" gun, along with other smaller Chinese guns and Mk.32 & Mk.46 torpedoes. They also carrya single Helo (Bell 212ASW or Westlans Super Lynx). However, the Chinese SDJ-7 hull-mounted sonar is probably not as capable as other Western types, although it has been compared to the USN SQS-56 system. 

 

Behind these they have a reasonable patrol force and a number of FAC gun and missile types, as well as 4 or 5 Corvette types. Amphibious numbers (LSTs, LSMs, LCMs, LCUs etc.) are considerable, and considering they have a 20,000 strong marine force. 2 brand new Gaeta type (Lat Ya class) MCMVs were fitting out a while ago and may have been commissioned by now. 3 62m large patrol craft (modified Khamronsin design) were ordered about a year or so ago, and may have been built by now. However the recent financial crunch from the Asian meltdown has put on hold indefinitely, several procurement plans. 

 

 Navy wise, the plan to acquire submarines, missile corvettes and escort frigates has been postponed, and I believe may still be so. 

 

The 20,000 strong marine division operates about 40 LVTP-7s but less than 6 M-60A3s, as well as quite a number of artillery pieces. Plans to expand the tank company (platoon) into a tank battalion have begun. A Coastal defence regiment also exists with 10 MM.40 Exocet truck mounted batteries. The FY99 defence budget draft was $2 billion USD which is was about 8% of the government revenues from last year!, and this is reduced from previous years!. With those figures one could get the impression that Thailand is not just modernizing its fleet but building upon it, or plans too, judging by the postponed plans. The acquisition of any kind of submarine would be considered a 'build up', as they don`t operate them currently. To sum up, Thailand has the potential to be a major player in especially the SE Asian region, and as events or developments further north start to get more interesting, it may have no choice but to employ or project that kind of policy at sea, at least in protection of its territorial waters. 

 

Thai updates.

An additional 2 PC30 coastal patrol craft are building, with an additional 7 planned to replace the Swift class. 3 LCUs are under construction for delivery next year. The Thai Marine Corp has chosen the ASCOD 105mm light tank for their re-equipment program, and an order for 15 is expected to be signed when funds are available.


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