Good vibrations but no concrete deals yet

Make the Royal Thai Air Force, RTAF, even more aware of the Gripen system.
Increased interest from the Royal Thai Navy for more cooperation and an opportunity to introduce Swedish shallow water systems. Those were the main issues Sweden’s Minister of Defence, Ms Leni Björklund, dealt with during her visit in Thailand last week. Her meetings with counterparts in Singapore, the days before Thailand, centered on existing cooperation and projects rather than any new future undertakings.
     Sweden has cooperated over a long period of time with both countries´ defence forces. The largest recent arms deal with Singapore is the delivery of four Swedish submarines to the island state’s navy. Singapore has also shown interest in a new Nordic submarine project dubbed Viking which is currently stalled after Denmark pulled out of the venture.
     In the JAS Gripen negotiations with Thailand, Leni Björklund reiterated the Swedish government’s commitment to a possible JAS sale to RTAF.
     “If a contract is signed the government must step in for several reasons. The deal must for example be approved by the state and our air force will provide training to RTAF pilots,” said Leni Björklund.“Quite recently officers from the RTAF have spent some time in Sweden to fly the Gripen advanced jet fighter. I think this is the ultimate confirmation that even though we are geographically distant and culturally different, Swedes and Thais work very well together.”
     The Minister of Defence continued on the same theme by stressing Sweden’s readiness to share defence know how with Thailand over a long period of time.
     “Sweden is prepared to share our technology in the defence sector, as well as in other areas, for the mutual benefit of our two countries. I sincerely hope that the discussions going on concerning replacing your F5 fighters with Gripen fighters will result in another such relation,” said Leni Björklund.
     On the navy side she held talks on how to increase and further existing cooperation with the Royal Thai Navy. One particular area of interest to the Thais is shallow water technology from Sweden, revealed the minister. Shallow waters are for example common in the gulf of Thailand.

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