- By Stingray, this blog national security journalist
Since Vietnam War, the Thai mechanized units, have used armored personal carriers (APC) that has a “back-door” to unload its soldiers in times of combat. The APC would forge ahead, with other APC and tanks, boldly into battle-and let the soldiers out in safety.
But suddenly, Thailand went for a European APC, hundreds of them, that had just been sitting there for years-and worse, these APC let the soldiers out, on a side door. Apart from reports that so many of these side door APC have broken down only months after the purchase, Thai soldiers complain that the entire mechanized units, have had to change formation, to make room for these side doors APV.
Sounds crazy? Well, there are more.
In Thailand’s Deep South, where terrorist are rampant, the big solution was “Video Surveillance and Bomb Detectors.” So first came news that most of the video surveillance boxes put up all over the place, in fact, had no video cameras in them. The off course is the now infamous GT200-that have put innocent Southern Thais in jail for 2-3 days for a wrong detection and also explosions only after the GT200 gave the area a clear.
Then a balloon surveillance system in Southern Thailand suddenly does not work. Then the Thai military up-grade of rifles to soldiers with an Israeli made guns-suddenly got shipped to Thai soldiers in the Thai Deep South-with the latest being the terrorist are printing fliers to tell the Thai Muslim down there that Thailand is close to Israel.
Then believe it or not, Thailand’s plan for submarines-is seeing prices about three times with other ASEAN countries have paid for. It’s latest fighter jet, the Griffin, is no match for what even Vietnam and Cambodia are ordering-and we can forget matching Malaysian or Singapore’s old fighters.
Well, literally, billions and billions, had been spent on all the above-and they all indicates crazy decision-making. And that is exactly with the Thai Senate Defense Committee is looking into.
“The purchase by the military is always on special conditions, that fails outside proper purchase rules. We are going to have to check the money trail. And we are going to have to put a stop to these outside rules purchases,” said the committee chairman.
Does that sound like corruption?
In fact, local press had reported and reported and again reported, that the Thai military have always claim transparency, because most of its purchase is government to government. But the Thai press had yelled and screaming for a long time now, that even being government to government-there had always been a management fee.
What is a management fee, you may ask?
The management fee goes to arms dealers, who cook up the purchase and then sends it to government to government purchase. In fact, in Thailand, there are major arms dealers cooking up deals all the time-who have access to Thailand’s highest military echelons.
Now it is Thailand’s privy Prem wishes to “Pass away a happy man” by forming a central Thai mechanized command, with a reported US$2 billion purchase of mechanized vehicles from APCs to main battle tanks. UK, Russian, Israeli and China are on the priority list to supply the vehicles.
Now, most of the Thai tanks is from the US, with Thai tank commanders going to train in the US. Even the Chinese tanks that Thailand has, are kept for used in non-core mechanized units-bunched together away from other tanks because they do not work with other tanks.
- Just think about it, how well will the Chinese, Russian or Israeli vehicles fit into the overall picture? And on transparency, we are talking China and Russian here.
Interoperability and standard:
The macro picture here is that Thailand, had been going for NATO and US standard for a very long time. The “Key Cutting Edge” in military thinking is “Interoperability.” That means everything fits together-for force multiplier effect.
Why the sudden change to Russian, China and Israeli. Does this sound like more “Crazy Decisions” ahead? Is it so that money will head into management fee? Is it really all about corruption? What ever, all the above spells “Very bad and crazy decisions by the Thai military.”
- And now, the Thai military wants a satellite for the military. That is just about half a US$ billion.