By Thai Newsroom Reporters
THE THAI NAVY IS LOOKING to procure three unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) for planned deployment over coastal areas of the country, according to a navy source.
Given an estimated 3.9 billion baht budget, the Naval Fleet’s Naval Air Division plans to buy three UAVs with medium-altitude, long-endurance maneuverability, the source said.
Four foreign firms are expected to vie for the navy’s UAV procurement project including General Atomics Aeronautical Systems of the United States which manufactures an MQ-9 Reaper UAV, Israel Aerospace Industries which builds a Heron UAV, Elbit Systems of Israel with a Hermes 900 UAV and Aviation Industry Corporation of China with a Wing Loong 2 UAV.
The sought-after UAVs may not only be tasked with reconnaissance and targeting missions but be armed with air-to-surface missile systems though the armament factor would be considered as an option rather than a prerequisite for the unmanned aircraft.
The navy runs a major naval air base in the U-tapao area near U-tapao international airport in Rayong and several naval airstrips including one in Phuket, Narathiwat and Nakhon Phanom.
Top: A Hermes 900 UAV in flight. Photo: Elbit Systems and published by Defense-update.com
Home Page: A General Atomics MQ-9 Reaper UAV on show. Photo: Dw.com