Thai Air Force Insists on Buying Gripen

The air force commander insists the purchase of Swedish-made Gripen combat aircraft is necessary to replace older fighter planes. He also assures transparency in the purchasing process.

Air Force Commander-in-Chief Air Chief Marshal Itthaporn Subhawong countered Matichon newspaper’s claim that the Royal Thai Air Force is spending much more on Gripen aircraft than its Romanian counterparts.

He stated that the purchase of Gripen jet fighters is necessary to replace the older F-5s, which are slated for retirement in 2011.

He urged the public to see this as a military affair and not to compare it with other countries since different nations have different priorities.

He added that the matter at hand should not be viewed as a political issue because the military does not wish to be involved in politics.

Itthaporn asserted that the purchase will soon enter its second phase of negotiations.

He revealed that both the prime minister and the defense minister have been notified and understand the necessity in purchasing the planes.

He said the air force is prepared to ensure full transparency for the financial transactions.


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