ASEAN Defense: 2) Thai army chief decides against Thai technology in controversial tank up-grade plan

  • By Stingray, Thai Intel’s national security journalist

The Thai army chief, Prayuth, have inked a contract to up-grade Thai tanks weapon control system with Selex Galileo, forgoing Thai technology-in a controversial decision.

About 300-400 tanks are slated for the up-grade, in a 3 years program.

Khao Sod, a newspaper here in Thailand that is part of the Matichon Group, reported that at the Thai military head-quarter in Bangkok, mysterious flyers accusing the Thai army of involving in corruption relating to an up-grade of Thai tank weapon control system plan appeared-causing what Khao Sod, reported as having “A highly concerned Thai army chief.”

Prayuth, thus ordered the Thai army’s spokesperson to make statements on the issue, as a local Thai technology firm involved in tank weapon control system, bought the issue to a Pheu Thai Party MP-who issued an inquiry letter to the Thai military. The Pheu Thai Party, is the party of the current Thai prime minister, Yingluck, who is pushing for the development of a local Thai defense industry.

The local Thai technology supplier, last year, saw its technology accepted by the Thai army-and have been fitted in many tanks. However, after the recent change in the Thai government,  the Thai army decided against continuing the contract, and to acquire higher priced, foreign supplier.

The representative of the local Thai technology firm, said the cancelling of the contract with the local firm decision, in the middle of the program, relates to the Thai military deciding to change the concept of the up-grade plan-from the original specs that called for a moderate up-grade that local firms were able to provide currently, to advance technology, that local firms were not geared for.

Local press reports that local firms have the capability to meet that advance demand from the Thai military, however, the Thai army gave local firms little advance warning of the requirement change-making the decision change in its requirement abruptly, going against the original plan.

The price tag relating to the original plan, is about a tenth, of the price of the new specs.

The following is from Military Technology:

Thai Army selects Selex Galileo TSS for Scorpion tank upgrade

19 September 2011

Selex Galileo has been selected to provide its thermal sight systems (TSS) in support of the Royal Thai Army‘s Scorpion light tank upgrade programme following in-country trials of the system with the army.

Under the €4.3m contract, the company will provide an initial quantity of 42 TSS systems as well as provide surveillance, target acquisition and weapon sight (STAWS) system.

The TSS system can provide direct fire capability to artillery platforms such as 155mm Howitzers and consists of the STAWS integrated with assisted-aiming fire control software, a commander’s display and a gunner’s display.

The assisted aiming software uses the laser-sighting capability of the STAWS to provide the Scorpion tank with advanced direct fire capability under all battlefield conditions.

Deliveries will begin in February 2012, and the systems are expected to be fielded in mid 2012.

The contract is for the first part of a three-stage upgrade programme and the army has plans to upgrade several other vehicles.

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