Data Link Key To Future Thai Air Force Procurements

Source : Aviation Week Network



Network-centric capability is the Thai air force’s top goal, making Link-T, Thailand’s indigenously developed data link, the potential linchpin for defense companies hoping to win contracts.

Avia Saab Technologies, a joint venture between Thai company Savia Satcom and Swedish company Saab, developed Link-T. It was born out of what Thai air force Air Chief Marshal Prajin Juntong refers to as “The Gripen Project.”

Thailand has ordered 12 Saab JAS 39 Gripens in two separate batches of six, and plans to order more. Nine have been delivered to Thailand so far. Juntong says the final three on order will be delivered at the end of August or early September.

“The idea is to order more Gripens, but we don’t know when to put the proposal to government,” Juntong says in response to a question from Aviation Week on when the air force plans to order a third batch. He says the Thai air force needs to have 16 to 18 aircraft to form a squadron.

This implies that the air force’s next move will be to order six more, enough to form a squadron. But there is always the possibility the air force will lobby the government to approve an order for 12. That would mean the air force would not only have enough to form a squadron, but have the beginnings of a second Gripen squadron.

The Swedish fighter is Thailand’s replacement for the Northrop F-5, of which the Thai air force has 37, according to the Aviation Week Intelligence Network database. The air force’s current fleet of Gripens is