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US Proposes F-16 Jet Sale to Thailand

Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin announced on Sunday that the United States ambassador had proposed the Thai air force purchase F-16 Block 70 fighter jets from Lockheed Martin. The proposal, however, requires further discussions, particularly regarding the prime minister’s stipulation for reciprocal investment from the United States in Thailand.

In a letter addressed to Prime Minister Srettha, US Ambassador Robert Godec suggested the acquisition of F-16 Block 70 jets by the Thai air force. This proposal comes as the air force looks to replace its aging fleet of F-16 Block 35 jets, which have been in service for many years.

Prime Minister Srettha has held multiple discussions with Air Force Chief ACM Panpakdee Patanakul about the air force’s plan to modernize its fleet. He emphasized that the selection of new fighter jets should align with the air force’s 10-year development strategy and adhere to his “offset policy.” This policy mandates that the supplier must invest in Thailand an amount equivalent to the purchase price of the jets.

The US proposal arrives amidst an offer from Sweden to sell SAAB Gripen fighter jets to the Thai air force.

Among the officials involved in these discussions were Air Force Chief ACM Panpakdee Patanakul and US Ambassador Robert Godec. The prime minister’s focus on ensuring substantial foreign investment through these military procurements underscores his administration’s broader economic strategy.

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