Thailand May Defer F-35 Procurement Plans Due to Budgetary Constraints

  • Our Bureau
  • 08:05 AM, July 23, 2022
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Thailand May Defer F-35 Procurement Plans Due to Budgetary Constraints
U.S.A.F. F-35 jets

Thailand could defer the F-35 jet procurement deal with opposition stemming in to stay the deal over budgetary constraints.

Prime minister of Thailand Prayut Chan-o-cha has insisted on staying true on his government’s decision to purchase three F-35s. Gen Prayut, who is also the defense minister, insisted the government purchase submarines and F-35 fighter jets on the last day of the censure debate on Friday. Deputy Pheu Thai Party leader and MP for Maha Sarakham Yuttapong Charasathien slammed the Prime Minister's plan. He said the country's public debt has increased to over 60% of GDP and is in need of funds for development and financial relief initiatives. He added that the Air Force's procurement process for the jets may take nearly two years as the order request must be examined by American lawmakers.

The PM has said that the order, which was submitted last year, is expected to conclude early next year and Thailand will inform the U.S. of its intentions in February. This decision comes in contrast with the arguments of Yuttapong, who demanded to withdraw the Air Force’s request for allocation of funds for the jets in the next year’s budget stating that it could be useful elsewhere.

The PM also defended the submarine deal inked with China Shipbuilding & Offshore International Co. The project has slowed down as the manufacturer could not supply German-made MTU396 diesel engines by next month's deadline. Gen Prayut said the government will not accept the delivery of the submarines unless they meet the requirements specified in the deal's terms of reference (ToR). He added that if the ToR cannot be fulfilled, the concerned parties will have to take responsibility as specified in the contract.

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