The Saab Gripen E/F single-engine fighter is once again favored by the Thai air force after the United States refused to sell the F-35A to Bangkok as was excessively expected by the Thai general staff.
In January 2022, the Chief of Staff of the Thai Air Force, Air Chief Marshal Napadej Dhupatemiya, declared in an interview given to the Bangkok Post that he favored the acquisition of 7 F-35As over that of as many Saab Gripen E/Fs to replace part of the F-5 and F-16 currently in service, as part of the modernization of the Thai air forces.
For the general officer, the F-35A was more economical and more efficient than the Swedish aircraft, while Thailand already operates a squadron of Gripen C/D, the most modern aircraft in its fleet.
However, even at the time, the statements of Air Chief Marshal Napadej Dhupatemiya were perplexing. On the one hand, the economic calculation presented was uncertain and capricious to say the least, arguing in particular that the F-35A was very likely to reach an export sales price of $70 million, which, already in January 2022, was far from be the trajectory envisaged by specialists on the subject, who rather anticipated an increase in the device during the next batches currently being negotiated.
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